Opportunities and difficulties for counseling at the margins of viability

Myers, P.; Andrews, B.; Meadow, W.

Semin Fetal Neonatal Med. 2017 Nov 22; 23(1):30-34

Abstract

At the margins of viability, the interaction between physicians and families presents challenges but also opportunities for success. The counseling team often focuses on data: morbidity and mortality statistics and the course of a typical infant in the neonatal intensive care unit. Data that are generated on the population level can be difficult to align with the multiple facets of an individual infant's trajectory. It is also information that can be difficult to present because of framing biases and the complexities of intuiting statistical information on a personal level. Families also do not arrive as a blank slate but rather arrive with notions of prematurity generated from the culture they live in. Mothers and fathers often want to focus on hope, their changing role as parents, and in their desire to be a family. Multi-timepoint counseling provides the opportunity to address these goals and continue communication as the trajectories of infants, families and the counseling team change.

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