Copyright 2002 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved.
Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.2002
In Reply: These letters focus on information
transfer to parents, particularly the acute knowledge gap that must be bridged
in such a short time after the birth of an extremely premature infant, under
the worst of circumstances. I agree that it is our duty to assist parents,
and to avoid paternalism while taking responsibility for helping them avoid
needless overload and anxiety.
Ideally, such information should be specific to the infant, factually
accurate, readily accessible, understandable, and frequently updated. In addition,
it should be delivered in a personal and supportive fashion, clearly differentiating
the vital facts from the mass of details. No single source fits all of these
criteria. Attending physicians may provide accurate and balanced updates,
but their accessibility is limited. House officers may serve this role, but
require close supervision to avoid inaccuracies and jargon. Experienced primary
nurses and nurse practitioners are well positioned to gauge parents' needs
and to offer frequent updates, but they may be hesitant to discuss long-term
prognosis or ethical choices. Social workers play a vital role both in access
to nonmedical information as well as skilled emotional support.
Richardson D. Providing Information to Parents of Extremely Premature Newborns—Reply. JAMA. 2002;287(1):41–43. doi:10.1001/jama.287.1.40