Parents want more communication when infants are being treated in hospital intensive care nursery

May 13, 2000

Parents of infants undergoing treatment in hospital intensive care nurseries feel their role in the therapy decision-making process could be improved through more communication and use of simpler terminology, according to a new international study.

Researchers from the University of California, San Francisco headed the study, which included data from seven Pacific Rim countries: United States, Malaysia, Taiwan, Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Australia. In all countries, parents expressed strong interest in wanting to be involved in treatment and resuscitation decision-making for their infants. They also said they felt a joint process was preferable to decisions made solely by the physicians or themselves.

Findings were reported here today (May 14) at the joint meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies and American Academy of Pediatrics. Study co-directors are Colin Partridge, MD, and Alma Martinez, MD, UCSF specialists in infant care who are based at San Francisco General Hospital Medical Center. Study participants were 361 parents whose infants had been patients in a neonatal intensive care nursery (NICU). All the infants weighed less than 3.3 pounds and had been born prematurely. The U.S. participants were in California.

The research focused on the level of satisfaction that parents experience in their interactions with physicians and other staff in the NICU, how parents view their role in regard to decisions about treatment, and if parents feel their participation in this role could be improved.

"As neonatologists, we need to be more sensitive to parents' rights in the nursery and involve them more along the way in the care choices about their child. That's what this is all about," said Martinez.

The researchers chose to include several Pacific Rim countries in order to assess cultural variations in physician counseling with parents and in decision-making for infants born at the margin of viability, according to Partridge. In particular, the research team was interested in the East-West differences in countries with NICU technology that offers the possibility of life support for extremely premature infants, he said.

Study results showed the majority of parents in all countries felt that discussion on the important aspects of therapy was adequate, but they also suggested communication could be improved through: This is the third phase of a research project in these seven countries. Previous studies looked at the mortality and morbidity of infants in NICUs and how physicians view their interactions with parents and the degree that they involve parents in treatment decision-making.
-end-
Study co-investigators were N.Y. Boo, University Kebangsaan Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; J.H. Lu, Veteran General Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan; H. Nishida, Tokyo Women's Medical College, Japan; K.W. Tan, Kandang Kerbau Hospital, Singapore; C.Y. Yeung, University of Hong Kong; and V. Yu, Monash Medical Center, Clayton, Australia.

The study was funded by the University of California Pacific Rim Research Program.

Note to the media:
The joint meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies and the American Academy of Pediatrics will take place May 12-16 at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston. The Press Room phone is 617-954-2521.

For assistance in arranging an interview with Dr. Colin Partridge or Dr. Alma Martinez, contact Corinna Kaarlela in the UCSF News Office at 415-476-3804.

University of California - San Francisco

Related Infants Articles from Brightsurf:

Most infants are well even when moms are infected by COVID-19
Infants born to women with COVID-19 showed few adverse outcomes, according to the first report in the country of infant outcomes through eight weeks of age.

Probiotic may help treat colic in infants
Probiotics -- or 'good bacteria' -- have been used to treat infant colic with varying success.

Deaf infants' gaze behavior more advanced than that of hearing infants
Deaf infants who have been exposed to American Sign Language are better at following an adult's gaze than their hearing peers, supporting the idea that social-cognitive development is sensitive to different kinds of life experiences.

Initiating breastfeeding in vulnerable infants
The benefits of breastfeeding for both mother and child are well-recognized, including for late preterm infants (LPI).

Young infants with fever may be more likely to develop infections
Infants with a high fever may be at increased risk for infections, according to research from Penn State College of Medicine.

Early term infants less likely to breastfeed
A new, prospective study provides evidence that 'early term' infants (those born at 37-38 weeks) are less likely than full-term infants to be breastfeed within the first hour and at one month after birth.

Infants are more likely to learn when with a peer
Researchers at the University of Connecticut and University of Washington looked at the mechanisms involved in language learning among nine-month-olds, the youngest population known to be studied in relation to on-screen learning.

Allergic reactions to foods are milder in infants
Majority of infants with food-induced anaphylaxis present with hives and vomiting, suggesting there is less concern for life-threatening response to early food introduction.

Non-dairy drinks can be dangerous for infants
A brief report published in Acta Paediatrica points to the dangers of replacing breast milk or infant formula with a non-dairy drink before one year of age.

Infants can't talk, but they know how to reason
A new study reveals that preverbal infants are able to make rational deductions, showing surprise when an outcome does not occur as expected.

Read More: Infants News and Infants Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.