Barriers of Palliative Care in Neonatal Intensive Care Units: Attitude of Neonatal Nurses in Southeast Iran

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Abstract

Objective:

Neonatal nurses face numerous barriers in providing end-of-life (EOL) care for neonates and their families. Addressing neonatal nurses’ attitudes could provide insight into barriers that impede neonatal palliative care (NPC). This study thus conducted to examine neonatal nurses’ attitude toward barriers in providing NPC in Southeast Iran.

Method:

In this cross-sectional study, a translated modified version of Neonatal Palliative Care Attitude Scale was used to examine attitudes of 70 nurses toward barriers of palliative care in 3 neonatal intensive care units in Southeast Iran.

Results:

Findings indicated that overall 42.63% of nurses were strongly agreed or agreed with the proposed barriers in NPC. Among all categories, the highest and the lowest scores belonged to the categories of “insufficient resources” (3.42 ± 0.65) and “inappropriate personal and social attitudes” (2.33 ± 0.48), respectively. Neonatal nurses who had less education and study regarding NPC reported the presence of more barriers to NPC in the categories of “inappropriate organizational culture” and/or “inadequate nursing proficiency.” Also, younger nurses had more positive attitudes toward the category of inappropriate organizational culture as being a barrier to provision of NPC (4.62).

Conclusion:

The findings suggest that developing a context-based instrument is required to represent the barrier more precisely. Neonatal palliative care can be improved by establishing a special environment to focus on infants’ EOL care. This establishment requires standard palliative care guidelines and adequate NPC-trained nurses.

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