[Perinatal palliative care performed in obstetrics and neonatology wards and hospices for children - own experience]

Dev Period Med. 2019;23(4):253-262.
[Article in Polish]


Objective: Lethal defects lead to the intrauterine death of the fetus or the passing away of the child immediately after birth or in early infancy, regardless of the treatment used. In the case of lethal defects, it is not possible to effectively help the child, despite using the most modern equipment or medicines in the treatment or the progress made by medicine. Parents, who decide to continue the pregnancy, although the fetus has a lethal defect that cannot be cured, may be covered by perinatal hospice care, which is comprehensive and consists in supporting the pregnant woman during the prenatal time, during delivery and after delivery and support of her family, giving full information to the parents about their child's illness. Childcare after birth is focused on protecting the infant from persistent therapy and providing him with appropriate conditions. Aim: To demonstrate the role of perinatal palliative care for pregnant women in whom the results of prenatal tests pointed to a severe developmental disorder in the fetus with a potentially lethal prognosis, and to present a pattern of behavior for their hospitalization in the perinatal hospice.

Patients and methods: Materials and methods: The retrospective analysis included documentation of 67 patients referred to the RAZEM (TOGETHER) Program in Wrocław in 2014-2018 due to abnormal results of (ultrasound and / or genetic) prenatal tests, which indicated a serious developmental disorder in the fetus with potentially lethal prognosis. Analysis was conducted of sociodemographic data, clinical data on fetal diagnosis, pregnancy and delivery, the procedure for prenatal delivery and postnatal birth.

Results: Results: 67 women aged 20-43 years (mean 31.2) were referred to the RAZEM Program. Out of these, 57 women were enrolled for palliative care, which accounted for 85% of those referred to the program. Palliative care was continued in 51 patients, because 6 women decided to terminate their pregnancy during the diagnostic process (10.5%). The most common abnormalities in the fetuses were chromosomal aberrations, CNS defects and kidney defects. In 95% of the cases, intrauterine fetal death or neonatal death occurred.

Conclusion: Conclusions: Perinatal palliative care is an indispensable form of care for pregnant women in whom the results of prenatal tests indicate a serious developmental disorder in the fetus with potentially lethal prognosis. The in-hospital model of a perinatal hospice is a beneficial form of care, as it ensures consistency and good communication in the team, which favourably affects its quality.

Keywords: lethal defects; perinatal hospice; perinatal palliative care.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Congenital Abnormalities / mortality*
  • Congenital Abnormalities / pathology
  • Female
  • Fetal Death
  • Fetal Diseases / mortality*
  • Fetal Diseases / pathology
  • Hospice Care / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Palliative Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Poland
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Diagnosis / statistics & numerical data
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Young Adult