Parents of infants undergoing treatment in hospital intensive care nurseries feel their role in the therapy decision-making process could be improved through more communication and use of simpler terminology, according to a new international study.
Researchers from the University of California, San Francisco headed the study, which included data from seven Pacific Rim countries: United States, Malaysia, Taiwan, Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Australia. In all countries, parents expressed strong interest in wanting to be involved in treatment and resuscitation decision-making for their infants. They also said they felt a joint process was preferable to decisions made solely by the physicians or themselves.
Findings were reported here today (May 14) at the joint meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies and American Academy of Pediatrics. Study co-directors are Colin Partridge, MD, and Alma Martinez, MD, UCSF specialists in infant care who are based at San Francisco General Hospital Medical Center. Study participants were 361 parents whose infants had been patients in a neonatal intensive care nursery (NICU). All the infants weighed less than 3.3 pounds and had been born prematurely. The U.S. participants were in California.
The research focused on the level of satisfaction that parents experience in their interactions with physicians and other staff in the NICU, how parents view their role in regard to decisions about treatment, and if parents feel their participation in this role could be improved.
"As neonatologists, we need to be more sensitive to parents' rights in the nursery and involve them more along the way in the care choices about their child. That's what this is all about," said Martinez.
The researchers chose to include several Pacific Rim countries in order to assess cultural variations in physician counseling with parents and in decision-making for infants born at the margin of viability, according
Contact: Corinna Kaarlela
University of California - San Francisco