Advances in Neonatal Care
April 2013, Volume 13 Number 2 , p 108 - 114
The purpose of this study was to identify and prioritize topics for a professional development program in neonatal palliative care. A total of 276 nurses and midwives who work in an Australian neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and 26 international healthcare professionals working in NICU and palliative care served as participants. A Delphi technique was used, consisting of a series of rounds of data collection via interview and questionnaire, to identify and consolidate opinions of nurses and other healthcare professionals who work in neonatal intensive care units. The main outcome measures were: (1) Topics to be included in a professional development program for nurses working in neonatal intensive care units and (2) the preferred format of the program. Twenty-three high-priority topics were identified, which included preparing families when death is imminent, how to provide emotional support to grieving parents, advocating for a dying baby, and assessing and managing pain in a dying baby. Care of a dying infant requires the same skill set as caring for older terminally ill children internationally. A combination of face-to-face lectures and interactive workshops using case studies and audiovisual examples is the preferred format.