Objectives: This study investigated institutional and personal barriers to and facilitators of neonatal palliative care facing neonatal professionals in China.
Methods: A cross-sectional questionnaire surveyed 231 neonatal clinicians employed in 5 neonatal intensive care units from 2 children’s hospitals and 3 medical centers in China.
Measurements: The translated modified version of the Neonatal Palliative Care Attitude Scale was used to survey neonatal clinicians’ attitudes and beliefs regarding neonatal palliative care.
Results: Findings highlight 4 facilitators and 5 barriers among participating clinicians. Participants gave contradictory responses regarding the relative importance of curative treatment versus palliative care in the NICU. Negatively traumatic feelings, cultural issues and moral distress may impact this contradictory response and discourage clinicians from providing neonatal palliative care. Additionally, neonatologists and nurses held differing attitudes on several topics (p < 0.05).
Conclusion: Further research should address strategies to improve knowledge and attitudes and relieve moral distress in NICU clinicians. Neonatal clinicians providing neonatal palliative care should receive regular palliative care training addressing culture-specific issues and communication skills.
Practice Implications: Study findings will be beneficial to inform clinical education and practice. Regular interdisciplinary team training is needed to enhance support for palliative care and decrease clinicians’ moral distress during end-of-life care.
American Journal of Hospice and Palliative Medicine