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Palliative Care in the Perinatal Setting: Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Labor and Delivery Unit 

Palliative Care in the Perinatal Setting: Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Labor and Delivery Unit
Chapter:
Palliative Care in the Perinatal Setting: Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Labor and Delivery Unit
Author(s):

Cheryl Ann Thaxton

, Diana Jacobson

, Heather Murphy

, and Tracey Whitley

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780190862374.003.0062
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date: 20 August 2019

The nurse is an essential interdisciplinary partner in the delivery of family- and patient-centered palliative care for families faced with perinatal or newborn loss in the labor and delivery (L&D) unit and in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Early identification and referral of the family to perinatal and neonatal palliative care services is paramount. Improving nursing communication with the family, advocating for the family, and providing supportive nursing care, which includes physical and psychological symptom management, are emphasized. The L&D unit is an area in which patients can experience both joy and loss; it is imperative that L&D nurses receive education about palliative care in the event of maternal complications and/or congenital anomalies that lead to the death of a newborn. Principles of essential individualized, compassionate, and culturally competent palliative care interventions are reviewed using patient and family exemplars.

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