Who Receives Home-Based Perinatal Palliative Care: Experience from Poland
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Context. The current literature suggests that perinatal palliative care (PPC) programs should be comprehensive, initiated early, and integrative. So far there have been very few publications on the subject of home-based PC of newborns and neonates. Most publications focus on hospital-based care, mainly in the neonatal intensive care units. Objective. To describe the neonates and infants who received home-based palliative care in Lodz Region between 2005 and 2011. Methods. A retrospective review of medical records. Results. 53 neonates and infants were admitted to a home hospice in Lodz Region between 2005 and 2011. In general, they are a growing group of patients referred to palliative care. Congenital diseases (41%) were the primary diagnoses; out of 53 patients 16 died, 20 were discharged home, and 17 stayed under hospice care until 2011. The most common cause of death (56%) was cardiac insufficiency. Neurological symptoms (72%) and dysphagia (58%) were the most common clinical problems. The majority of children (45%) had a feeding tube inserted and were oxygen dependent (45%); 39 families received psychological care and 31 social supports. Conclusions. For terminally ill neonates and infants, perinatal palliative care is an option which improves the quality of their lives and provides the family with an opportunity to say goodbye.
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