"I'll Never Forget Those Cold Words as Long as I Live": Parent Perceptions of Death Notification for Stillbirth

Suzanne Pullen, Mindi Ann Golden, Joanne Cacciatore

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    21 Scopus citations

    Abstract

    This qualitative study analyzed stillbirth notification messages recalled by parents who strongly agreed (n = 47) and strongly disagreed (n = 43) that the way news about the death of their infant was delivered negatively impacted their grieving process. Three message elements formed a core stillbirth notification experience (delay of news delivery; expression of sympathy; communication of death), and three additional message elements occurred in both data sets (communication regarding options; expression of uncertainty; exit of health care provider); however, the messages differed in form and frequency between the two groups. Three message elements reflected opposing experiences for the two groups (support of parent emotion; continuity of care; and information provision). Recommendations for stillbirth notification that emphasize acknowledging parent perceptions, clear language and information, empathetic communication, and continuity of care are given.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)339-355
    Number of pages17
    JournalJournal of Social Work in End-of-Life and Palliative Care
    Volume8
    Issue number4
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Dec 2012

    Keywords

    • bad news delivery
    • bereavement
    • death notification
    • grief
    • perinatal end-of-life care
    • physician/patient communication
    • stillbirth

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Health(social science)
    • Life-span and Life-course Studies

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