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A framework for conducting follow-up meetings with parents after a child's death in the pediatric intensive care unit

Susan Eggly, Kathleen L Meert, John Berger, Jerry Zimmerman, Kanwaljeet J S Anand, Christopher J L Newth, Rick Harrison, Joseph Carcillo, J Michael Dean, Douglas F Willson, Carol Nicholson
Pediatric Critical Care Medicine 2011, 12 (2): 147-52

OBJECTIVE: To describe a framework to assist pediatric intensive care unit physicians in conducting follow-up meetings with parents after their child's death. Many childhood deaths occur in pediatric intensive care units. Parents of children who die in pediatric intensive care units often desire a follow-up meeting with the physician(s) who cared for their child.

DATA SOURCES: Prior research conducted by the Collaborative Pediatric Critical Care Research Network on the experiences and perspectives of bereaved parents and pediatric intensive care unit physicians regarding the desirability, content, and conditions of follow-up meetings.

RESULTS: The framework includes suggestions for inviting families to follow-up meetings (i.e., developing an institutional system, invitation timing, and format); preparing for the meeting (i.e., assessing family preferences; determining location, attendees, and discussion topics; reviewing medical and psychosocial history); structure of the meeting (i.e., opening, closing, and developing a meeting agenda); communicating effectively during the meeting; and follow-up for both parents and physicians.

CONCLUSION: This framework is based on the experience and perspectives of bereaved parents and pediatric intensive care unit physicians. Future research should be conducted to determine the extent to which physician-parent follow-up meetings provide a benefit to parents, families, physicians, and other healthcare providers participating in these encounters.


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