“The prenatal diagnosis of a fetal abnormality that may be life-limiting necessitates challenging and complex discussions between patients and health care providers to establish individualized care plans. Historically, choices for patients faced with such a diagnosis were distilled down to a basic dichotomy: termination of pregnancy or pregnancy continuation with a plan for postnatal resuscitation and life-prolonging treatment 1. Although each may be a valid option for some patients and families, for others perinatal palliative comfort care may be the preferred approach.
Perinatal palliative care refers to a coordinated care strategy that comprises options for obstetric and newborn care that include a focus on maximizing quality of life and comfort for newborns with a variety of conditions considered to be life-limiting in early infancy. With a dual focus on ameliorating suffering and honoring patient values, perinatal palliative care can be provided concurrently with life-prolonging treatment. The focus of this document, however, involves the provision of exclusively palliative care without intent to prolong life in the context of a life-limiting condition, otherwise known as perinatal palliative comfort care.
This publication is intended to clarify which patients would be appropriate candidates for perinatal palliative comfort care, to discuss essential components of this care, and to explore some of the challenges this kind of care poses for patients, health care providers, and health care entities.” Read More
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