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January 2, 2002

Providing Information to Parents of Extremely Premature Newborns

Author Affiliations

Stephen J.LurieMD, PhD, Senior EditorIndividualAuthorJody W.ZylkeMD, Contributing EditorIndividualAuthor

JAMA. 2002;287(1):41-43. doi:10.1001/jama.287.1.40

To the Editor: In the Clinical Crossroads article on a woman with an extremely premature newborn,1 we were impressed by the mother's comment, "Most of the information that I received was at 3 AM when I was in premature labor—you only hear bits and pieces."

Over the last 7 years our group (with input from some parents of premature infants) has been devising and evaluating different ways of improving communication between parents and health professionals in the NICU.2,3 In a pilot study, one of us (Koh) routinely recorded (with consent) conversations with parents. At the end of the conversation the tape recorder with the cassette were given to the parents so that they could listen to what had been said at leisure (and repeatedly if necessary).2 Parents seem to appreciate such a simple adjunct in communication. Indeed, in our pilot study we found that some parents could not remember being spoken to by the specialists even when the conversation was recorded on tape. We are currently completing a 200-subject randomized trial studying information recall, impact on postnatal depression, and parental well-being in the first year of the infant's life among parents provided with audiorecordings of their conversations with neonatologists.

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