Factors influencing the uptake of neonatal bereavement support services


image source: springer.com

Research on perinatal bereavement services is limited. The aim of the study was to compare the uptake of bereavement support services between two tertiary neonatal units (NNU), and to investigate influencing factors.

The medical and bereavement records of all neonatal deaths were studied from January 2006 to December 2011. Data collected included parent and baby characteristics, mode of death, consent for autopsy and bereavement follow-up. The categorical data were compared by chi-square or Fisher’s exact test and continuous data by Wilcoxon signed-rank test; a multivariable regression analysis was performed using STATA 12.0.

The neonatal deaths of 297 babies (182 in NNU1 and 115 in NNU2) with full datasets were analysed. Baby characteristics were similar between units except for lower median gestational age in NNU1 (p = 0.03). Significantly more NNU1 parents were non-Caucasian (p < 0.01), from lower socio-economic status (p = 0.01) and had previous stillbirth/miscarriage (p = 0.03). More babies had care withdrawn in NNU2 (p < 0.01). A significantly higher proportion of parents from NNU1 (61 %) attended bereavement follow-up compared to NNU2 (34 %; p < 0.01).

On multivariable analysis, significantly more parents who were married or co-habiting (p = 0.02) and consented for an autopsy (p = 0.01) attended bereavement services.

Uptake of bereavement services varied between the two NNUs, which could be due to differences in the ethnic and socio-economic mix of the population. Significantly more parents who were married or co-habiting, or consented for autopsy, attended bereavement follow up services.

Full reference: Banerjee, J et. al.  Factors influencing the uptake of neonatal bereavement support services – Findings from two tertiary neonatal centres in the UK | BMC Palliative Care | 29 June 2016

Randomized Controlled Trial of a Primary Care-Based Child Obesity Prevention Intervention on Infant Feeding Practices

Gross, R. et al. The Journal of Pediatrics. Volume 174, July 2016, Pages 171–177.e2


Image source: Cascadian Farm // CC BY-NC 2.0

Objective: To determine the effects of a child obesity prevention intervention, beginning in pregnancy, on infant feeding practices in low-income Hispanic families.

Study design: The Starting Early randomized controlled trial enrolled pregnant women at a third trimester visit. Women (n = 533) were randomly allocated to a standard care control group or an intervention group participating in prenatal and postpartum individual nutrition/breastfeeding counseling and subsequent nutrition and parenting support groups coordinated with well-child visits. Outcome measures included infant feeding practices and maternal infant feeding knowledge at infant age 3 months, using questions adapted from the Infant Feeding Practices Study II and an infant 24-hour diet recall.

Results: A total of 456 families completed 3-month assessments. The intervention group had higher prevalence of exclusive breastfeeding on the 24-hour diet recall (42.7% vs 33.0%, P = .04) compared with controls. The intervention group reported a higher percentage of breastfeeding vs formula feeding per day (mean [SD] 67.7 [39.3] vs 59.7 [39.7], P = .03) and was less likely to introduce complementary foods and liquids compared with controls (6.3% vs 16.7%, P = .001). The intervention group had higher maternal infant feeding knowledge scores (Cohen d, 0.29, 95% CI .10-.48). The effect of Starting Early on breastfeeding was mediated by maternal infant feeding knowledge (Sobel test 2.86, P = .004).

Conclusions: Starting Early led to increased exclusive breastfeeding and reduced complementary foods and liquids in 3-month-old infants. Findings document a feasible and effective infrastructure for promoting breastfeeding in families at high risk for obesity in the context of a comprehensive obesity prevention intervention.

Read the abstract here

Early versus Delayed Human Milk Fortification in Very Low Birth Weight Infants–A Randomized Controlled Trial

Shah, S.D. et al. The Journal of Pediatrics. Volume 174, July 2016, Pages 126–131.e1

Objective: To compare the effect of initiating human milk fortification at 2 different feeding volumes on feeding intolerance and the time to reach full feeding volume.

Study design: Very low birth weight infants (n = 100) were prospectively randomized to early fortification (EF) (beginning at a feeding volume of 20 mL/kg/d) or delayed fortification (at a feeding volume of 100 mL/kg/d). We employed a standardized feeding protocol and parenteral nutrition guidelines for the nutritional management of all study infants.

Results: The median days to reach full feeding volumes were equivalent in the 2 groups (20 vs 20,P = .45). No significant difference was observed in the total number of episodes of feeding intolerance (58 vs 57). Two cases of necrotizing enterocolitis (Bell stage ≥2) and deaths occurred in each group. Median daily protein intake (g/kg/d) was higher in EF group in week 1 (3.3 [3.2, 3.5] vs 3.1 [2.9, 3.3], P < .001), week 2 (3.6 [3.5, 3.8] vs 3.2 [2.9, 3.4], P < .001), and week 3 (3.7 [3.4, 3.9] vs 3.5 [2.8, 3.8], P = .006). Cumulative protein intake (g/kg) in the first 4 weeks of life was higher in EF group (98.6 [93.8, 104] vs 89.6 [84.2, 96.4], P < .001).

Conclusions: Very early human milk fortification may improve early protein intake in very low birth weight infants without increasing frequencies of adverse events.

View the abstract here

Working together to prevent maternal mortality

Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow / Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, June 2016

It’s better to ask: working together to prevent maternal mortality


image source: rcpsg.ac.uk/

The RCPSG and the RCOG have produced an animated video to help doctors assess unwell pregnant or postpartum women, which aims to help reduce the number of maternal deaths in the UK. It is accompanied by a poster, which highlights the main causes of maternal death and provides midwives and doctors with advice for assessing pregnant and postpartum women who are feeling unwell.

More information available from the Royal College of Midwives here

Moral distress: an inevitable part of neonatal and paediatric intensive care?

Field. D. et al. Archives of Disease in Childhood. doi:10.1136/archdischild-2015-310268

The paper by Prentice et al reports a systematic review of moral distress occurring in neonatal and paediatric intensive care units. This term, which may be unfamiliar to many readers, has been defined as the anguish experienced when a health professional makes a clear moral judgement about what action he/she should take but is unable to act accordingly due to constraints (societal, institutional or contextual).2 In a situation of moral distress, the health professional can see, from their point of view, that there is an ethically correct action but is powerless to act, a situation that will be familiar to all those who work in neonatal or paediatric intensive care teams.

Moral distress is not a new phenomenon, although the scenarios where it arises may have changed due to developments in society’s beliefs and the healthcare system and dramatic improvements in technology. Perhaps the most clear UK example of how the views of society at large have changed in this context over time comes from the trial of Dr Leonard Arthur (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leonard_Arthur; accessed 21 March 2016). In 1981, Dr Arthur, a paediatrician based in the English Midlands, was tried for attempted murder following the death of a newborn baby with Down’s syndrome whom he had prescribed ‘nursing care only’ and sedatives.

Read the full comment article here

Read the original research article here

Exploring the acceptability of a clinical decision rule to identify paediatric burns due to child abuse or neglect

Johnson, E.L. et al. Emergency Medicine Journal. 2016;33:465-470

Objective: An evidence based clinical decision rule (CDR) was developed from a systematic review and epidemiological study to identify burns due to child maltreatment (abuse or neglect). Prior to an implementation evaluation, we aim to explore clinicians’ views of the CDR, the likelihood that it would influence their management and factors regarding its acceptability.

Methods: A semistructured questionnaire exploring demographics, views of the CDR and data collection pro forma, ability to recognise maltreatment and likelihood of following CDR recommended child protection (CP) action, was administered to 55 doctors and nurses in eight emergency departments and two burns units. Recognition of maltreatment was assessed via four fictitious case vignettes.

Analysis@ Fisher’s exact test and variability measured by coefficient of unalikeability.

Results: The majority of participants found the CDR and data collection pro forma useful (45/55, 81.8%). Only five clinicians said that they would not take the action recommended by the CDR (5/54, 9.3%). Lower grade doctors were more likely to follow the CDR recommendations (p=0.04) than any other grade, while senior doctors would consider it within their decision making. Factors influencing uptake include: brief training, background to CDR development and details of appropriate actions.

Conclusions: It is apparent that clinicians are willing to use a CDR to assist in identifying burns due to child maltreatment. However, it is clear that an implementation evaluation must encompass the influential variables identified to maximise uptake.

Read the full article here