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Comment & Response
March 2016

Upholding Family-Centered Care in the Face of High-Consequence Pathogens—Thinking Inside the Room

Author Affiliations
  • 1School of Nursing, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
  • 2Anesthesia and Critical Care Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
  • 3Critical Care and Cardiovascular Nursing Program, Boston Children's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 4Institute for Professionalism and Ethical Practice, Boston Children’s Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts
JAMA Pediatr. 2016;170(3):298-299. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2015.4512

To the Editor We welcome the article by Mehrotra et al1 as an opportunity to discuss reframing family-centered care of sick children with high-consequence pathogens. The authors provide a thoughtful summary of the challenges in delivering safe, effective, and compassionate care in the context of ever-increasing infectious disease threats. We fully agree that such situations mandate creativity. However, we disagree with the across-the-board recommendation of instituting physical separation of an infected child from parents. Although this option may be necessary in extenuating situations, we caution against this approach as a first line of defense, especially in the case of infants and young children who may experience significant psychological harm caused by parent separation at a time of great physiological stress. In most situations, we believe nurses can help parents successfully master the essentials of infection control and transition to the value-added role of parent of a child with a high-consequence pathogen.2,3

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