Neonatal palliative care

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Abstract

Purpose of review

A significant number of newborns are affected by life-limiting or life-threatening conditions. When prolongation of survival is no longer a goal, or prognosis is uncertain, a plan of care focused on the infant's comfort is essential. The aim of this article is to review the most recent and relevant literature regarding neonatal palliative care (NPC).

Recent findings

A variety of perinatal and NPC programs are described, but most programs focus exclusively on end-of-life care. Moreover, there is a great need to standardize practices and obtain follow-up quality measures.

Recent findings

Guidelines to address infants’ basic needs, to achieve a state of comfort, are proposed. A multidisciplinary team addressing the infants’ medical and nonmedical needs, parental grieving process, and providers’ distress is recommended.

Summary

NPC is a unique multidisciplinary approach for the care of newborns affected by life-limiting or complex medical conditions with uncertain prognosis. Standardized guidelines should be implemented with the goal of achieving a state of comfort for newborns throughout the course of illness. Further studies are warranted to assess whether NPC effectively promotes newborns’ comfort and parents and providers’ satisfaction.

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