While women in the Deep South area of the United States have higher rates of maternal and infant mortality, palliative and supportive care programs are lacking. Additionally, few studies have detailed referral triggers that are specific to the mother, infant, or pregnancy for inclusion in perinatal and neonatal palliative and supportive care programs.
The purpose of this retrospective, descriptive study was to examine the sociodemographic factors and referral triggers for perinatal-neonatal palliative and supportive care services for women enrolled in a newly developed perinatal-neonatal palliative and supportive care program.
Data were collected from medical records of 135 women enrolled in the program. Triggers for referral to the program were classified as fetal, maternal, or prenatal complications.
A diverse sample of women were enrolled in the program. Most infants survived to birth and discharge from the hospital. Two-thirds of referrals were related to infant complications and 34% were for multiple complications (fetal, maternal, and/or prenatal). Triggers for referral to the program were not related to sociodemographic characteristics of women.
Implications for Practice:
A comprehensive list of triggers that include maternal and prenatal complications, in addition to infant complications, may ensure at-risk women and infants, are enrolled in perinatal-neonatal palliative and supportive care programs early in pregnancy, regardless of sociodemographic factors.
Implications for Research:
Prospective research on the effectiveness of perinatal-neonatal palliative and supportive care programs in diverse populations of women is needed. This includes the examination of family health outcomes and provider perspectives.