Professionals’ Practices and Views regarding Neonatal Postmortem: Can We Improve Consent Rates by Improving Training?

Professionals’ Practices and Views regarding Neonatal Postmortem: Can We Improve Consent Rates by Improving Training?
Spierson H.a, Kamupira S.a, Storey C.b, Heazell A.E.P.
Neonatology, 2019; 115 pp 341–345
Background
In the UK, rates of neonatal postmortem (PM) are low. Consent for PM is required, and all parents should have the opportunity to discuss whether to have a post-mortem examination of their baby.
Objectives
We aimed to explore neonatal healthcare professionals’ experiences, knowledge, and views regarding the consent process for post-mortem examination after neonatal death.
Method
An online survey of neonatal healthcare providers in the UK was conducted. Responses from 103 healthcare professionals were analysed, 84 of whom were doctors. The response rate of the British Association of Perinatal Medicine (BAPM) members was 11.7%.
Results
Perceived barriers to PM included cultural and religious practices of parents as well as a lack of rapport between parents and professionals. Of the respondents, 69.4% had observed a PM; these professionals had improved satisfaction with their training and confidence in counselling (p < 0.001 and p < 0.001) but not knowledge of the procedure (p = 0.77). Healthcare professionals reported conservative estimates of the likelihood that a PM would identify significant information regarding the cause of death.
Conclusions
Confidence of neonatal staff in counselling could be improved by observing a PM. Training for staff in developing a rapport with parents and addressing emotional distress may also overcome significant barriers to consent for PM.

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