Negativity about the outcomes of extreme prematurity a persistent problem - a survey of health care professionals across the North Queensland region

Ireland, Susan, Larkins, Sarah, Ray, Robin, and Woodward, Lynn (2020) Negativity about the outcomes of extreme prematurity a persistent problem - a survey of health care professionals across the North Queensland region. Maternal health, neonatology and perinatology, 6. 2.

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Background: Extremely preterm babies are at risk of significant mortality and morbidity due to their physiological immaturity. At periviable gestations decisions may be made to either provide resuscitation and intensive care or palliation based on assessment of the outlook for the baby and the parental preferences. Health care professionals (HCP) who counsel parents will influence decision making depending on their individual perceptions of the outcome for the baby. This paper aims to explore the knowledge and attitudes towards extremely preterm babies of HCP who care for women in pregnancy in a tertiary, regional and remote setting in North Queensland.

Methods: A cross sectional electronic survey of HCP was performed. Perceptions of survival, severe disability and intact survival data were collected for each gestational age from 22 to 27 completed weeks gestation. Free text comment enabled qualitative content analysis.

Results: Almost all 113 HCP participants were more pessimistic than the actual outcome data suggests. HCP caring for women antenatally were the most pessimistic for survival (p = 0.03 at 23 weeks, p = 0.02 at 25,26 and 27 weeks), severe disability (p = 0.01 at 24 weeks) and healthy outcomes (p = 0.01 at 24 weeks), whilst those working in regional and remote centres were more negative than those in tertiary unit for survival (p = 0.03 at 23,24,25 weeks). Perception became less negative as gestational age increased.

Conclusion: Pessimism of HCP may be negatively influencing decision making and will negatively affect the way in which parents perceive the chances of a healthy outcome for their offspring.

Item ID: 62983
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2054-958X
Keywords: Extreme prematurity, Attitudes, Outcomes, Resuscitation, Decision-making, Mortality, Morbidity
Copyright Information: © The Author(s). 2020. Open AccessThis article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License,which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commonslicence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtainpermission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to thedata made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data
Date Deposited: 22 Jul 2020 03:23
FoR Codes: 32 BIOMEDICAL AND CLINICAL SCIENCES > 3215 Reproductive medicine > 321501 Foetal development and medicine @ 60%
32 BIOMEDICAL AND CLINICAL SCIENCES > 3213 Paediatrics > 321303 Neonatology @ 40%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9205 Specific Population Health (excl. Indigenous Health) > 920501 Child Health @ 50%
92 HEALTH > 9202 Health and Support Services > 920204 Evaluation of Health Outcomes @ 50%
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