"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

20 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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