Factors influencing the care provided for periviable babies in Australia: a narrative review

Ireland, Susan, Ray, Robin, Larkins, Sarah, and Woodward, Lynn (2015) Factors influencing the care provided for periviable babies in Australia: a narrative review. Reproductive Health, 12. 108. pp. 1-11.

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Survival at extreme prematurity is becoming increasingly common. Neurodisability is an increasing risk with decreasing gestation. This review outlines the risks of extreme prematurity and the attitudes of health care providers and families in Australia of periviable babies. High quality data is difficult to find due to differing definitions and methods of assessment of disability. Meta-analyses of outcomes of prematurity published from 2008 to 2013, including babies born from 1990 onwards, suggest a severe disability rate of around 20 % at 22 to 26 weeks completed gestation, with moderate disability decreasing with increasing gestation. Studies show that Australian health care providers underestimate the survival and positive outcomes of these babies. The majority of Australian health care providers state that parental preference would determine the decision to offer care to babies at 23 weeks gestation, however, all had a threshold above which parental preference would be ignored in favour of resuscitation .This ranged from 22 to 27 completed weeks gestation. The few studies examining Australian parental involvement in resuscitation decisions, showed that the majority of parents felt that health professionals alone had made the decision to resuscitate their extremely preterm babies and the parents themselves did not wish to be the primary decision makers in withholding care. The babies progressed better than parents had expected following antenatal counselling. The attitudes of health care providers, experiences and opinions of parents seem to be at odds with the current move to increase parental decision making at the most extremes of gestation. Current Australian guidelines suggest parental decision making below 25 weeks gestation, and primarily clinician decision making over this gestation. The increased risks of prematurity and adverse outcomes for the North Queensland population is also explored. This population has a high proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders who have increased risks which are primarily linked to poor socioeconomic factors and are highest for the most remote residents. Attitudes towards delivery of care to these highest risk babies from health professionals and in the populations themselves have not been studied.

Item ID: 41485
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1472-4755
Keywords: prematurity, periviable, resuscitation, decision-making, ethics, parental autonomy, Australia
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© 2015 Ireland et al.

Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

Date Deposited: 11 Dec 2015 05:17
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1114 Paediatrics and Reproductive Medicine > 111401 Foetal Development and Medicine @ 100%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9205 Specific Population Health (excl. Indigenous Health) > 920501 Child Health @ 100%
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