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November 1979

Parent Care in the Intensive Care Unit

Author Affiliations

Department of Pediatrics School of Medicine Indiana University 1100 W Michigan St Indianapolis, IN 46202

Am J Dis Child. 1979;133(11):1119-1120. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1979.02130110027001

Because of their responsibility for life-support systems, the staff of pediatric intensive care units (ICUs) are increasingly confronted by the kinds of experiences described by Waller and his associates (p 1121 in this issue) in which the concerns of the family, the physician, and the nurse converge in relation to the impending death of a child. The highly sophisticated biomedical care of sick infants and children in ICUs often contrasts starkly with the undeveloped care of their parents. Parent care in many centers seems a sporadic improvisation by the most inexperienced staff. It is almost axiomatic that the higher the intensity of technical care, the less evident the personal concern with families. Indeed, intensive care facilities seem to dictate more of a task than a person orientation.

Waller and his colleagues are, therefore, rightly concerned. The questions they raise, and those of others, will, I believe, lead to a new