Informing parents about the actual or impending death of their infant in a newborn intensive care unit

Debra Armentrout, Leigh A Cates

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Modern perinatal and neonatal care practices have increased survival of infants that in previous care eras would have perished. The majority of infants admitted to a newborn intensive care unit following delivery currently do well and are discharged home. Unfortunately for others, the ultimate outcome may be death. The death of a newborn infant is clearly a devastating loss to parents. How parents are informed of their infant's actual or impending death can either add to a grief reaction, or help support parents through their loss. The literature supports that most healthcare professionals frequently feel inept while discussing the death of a newborn with the baby's family. This article will present parents descriptions of what helped or did not help when they were informed of their infant's inevitable death. It will also demonstrate how simulation may be effective in improving communication of bad or sad news to families in a manner that sustains them in the immediate present, as well as adds to their future well-being.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)261-267
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Perinatal and Neonatal Nursing
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • neonatal death
  • parental grief
  • perinatal-neonatalloss
  • simulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics
  • Critical Care
  • Maternity and Midwifery


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