Retrospective cohort study of all deaths among infants born between 22 and 27 completed weeks of gestation

The aim of this research is to assess causes and circumstances of deaths in extremely low gestational age neonates (ELGANs) born in Switzerland over a 3-year period | BMJ Open

Design: Population-based, retrospective cohort study.

Setting: All nine level III perinatal centres (neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) and affiliated obstetrical services) in Switzerland.

Patients: ELGANs with a gestational age (GA) <28 weeks who died between 1 July 2012 and 30 June 2015.

Results: A total of 594 deaths were recorded with 280 (47%) stillbirths and 314 (53%) deaths after live birth. Of the latter, 185 (59%) occurred in the delivery room and 129 (41%) following admission to an NICU. Most liveborn infants dying in the delivery room had a GA ≤24 weeks and died following primary non-intervention. In contrast, NICU deaths occurred following unrestricted life support regardless of GA. End-of-life decision-making and redirection of care were based on medical futility and anticipated poor quality of life in 69% and 28% of patients, respectively. Most infants were extubated before death (87%).

Conclusions: In Switzerland, most deaths among infants born at less than 24 weeks of gestation occurred in the delivery room. In contrast, most deaths of ELGANs with a GA ≥24 weeks were observed following unrestricted provisional intensive care, end-of-life decision-making and redirection of care in the NICU regardless of the degree of immaturity.

Full reference: Berger, T.M. et al. (2017) Retrospective cohort study of all deaths among infants born between 22 and 27 completed weeks of gestation in Switzerland over a 3-year period. BMJ Open. 7:e015179

Transport of the critically ill child

Sarfatti, A. & Ramnarayan, P. Paediatrics and Child Health | Published online: 5 March 2017

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With the centralization of specialist services into a limited number of hospitals across the UK, an increasing number of children require an inter-hospital transfer. In 2014, 6000 critically ill or injured children were transferred between hospitals in the UK. While most of the transfers are done by specialist teams, as many as 23% are done by non-specialist teams.

These patients are some of the sickest children. It is while in transit that these patients are most at risk, and the transferring team is most exposed. To achieve a smooth and safe transfer it is important that the appropriate team with the relevant skills undertakes such transfers. The patient’s condition should be optimised before transfer and any likely difficulties are anticipated, and that the transferring team is prepared to act to resolve any complications swiftly and effectively. In this review we will attempt to offer our approach to the safe transfer of the critically ill child.

Read the abstract here

New blood draw protocol could minimize risk for critically ill children

Checklist-style guidelines decreased unnecessary blood culture collection by nearly half in study

Investigators say that safely reducing the frequency of blood draws in hospitalized children with fevers has historically not been a hospital priority despite the stress, pain and high rate of false positives associated with the procedure.

The researchers found that fostering cross-departmental collaboration and offering guidelines to clinicians helped reduce the number of unnecessary blood draws on some of the smallest and most vulnerable patients at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center. Clinicians were able to accomplish an immediate reduction in unnecessary blood draws using the newly designed checklist protocols, and they were able to sustain the reduction over time.

Read the full overview here

Read the original research abstract here

Supporting Siblings of Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Patients

Morrison, A. & Gullón-Riveraemail, A.L. Journal of Pediatric Nursing. Published online: December 12 2016

life-862967_960_720.jpgHighlights:

  • The article discusses the benefit of a Social Story™ to support siblings as an intervention approach within the NICU.
  • The Social Story™ approach is unique and differs from the formats of current children’s books about NICU.
  • This article provides an example of a NICU Social Story™ ready to implement with siblings of NICU patients.
  • Child Life Specialists can utilize Social Stories™ as educational tool to provide sibling and family support.

Read the abstract here

Newborn Individualized Developmental Care and Assessment Program Reduces Length of Stay

Moody, C. et al. Journal of Pediatric Nursing. Published online: 3 December 2016

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Infants born at ≤32 weeks gestation are at risk of developmental delays. Review of the literature indicates NIDCAP improves parental satisfaction, minimizes developmental delays, and decreases length of stay, thus reducing cost of hospitalization.

Highlights:

  • NIDCAP is a proven framework for providing developmentally supportive care in the NICU, and can mitigate risks of prematurity
  • Earlier initiation of NIDCAP led to discharge at a younger post-menstrual age
  • Quality improvement investigations are effective in addressing critical healthcare needs

Read the full abstract here

Family Stress in Pediatric Critical Care

Hagstrom, S. Journal of Pediatric Nursing. Published online: 21 November 2016

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Highlights

  • Separation was a primary source of stress for mothers with children at home.
  • The child’s illness and its potential effect on the future added to family stress.
  • Despite being told what to expect, families did not feel prepared for changes.
  • Parents reported a relationship between stress and uncertainty about the outcome.
  • Family context must be considered when assessing the stress of PICU hospitalization.

Read the full abstract here

Making the most of the single-family-room NICU

Steinhorn, R.H. (2016) The Journal of Pediatrics. Volume 177. pp. 1–2

A major change in neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) design has been the replacement of open wards with private or single-family-rooms (SFR). The anticipated advantages of family privacy, lower light and noise levels, and improved infection control seemed to merit this switch despite the drawbacks of higher construction costs and staffing inefficiencies.

To add to these potential concerns, Pineda et al reported that neonates cared for in SFR had more abnormal brain structure and lower cerebral maturation scores at the time of discharge, as well as lower Bayley-III language and motor scores at age 2 years than their counterparts cared for in open wards (J Pediatr 2014;164:52-60).

Read the full article here