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Authors

  1. Knighting, Katherine PhD, MA (Hons), MSc
  2. Kirton, Jennifer MSc, BSc (Hons), PGCE
  3. Silverio, Sergio A. MPsycholSci (Hons)
  4. Shaw, Ben N. J. MBChB, MRCP, FRCPCH, MD, MA (Clin)Ed

Abstract

More than 80 000 babies are admitted to specialist neonatal units in the United Kingdom every year, with approximately 2109 neonatal deaths a year; 98% in hospital. A common element in guidance and pathways to facilitate the provision of palliative care to infants and their families is the importance of good education and training to develop high-quality staff and services. This article presents a mixed-methods, sequential, explanatory design evaluation of 1 day palliative care education workshops delivered using a network-wide approach to multidisciplinary professionals. Workshops were delivered by healthcare professionals and bereaved parents and evaluated using questionnaires, adapted for neonatal staff from standardized measures, and follow-up interviews. The workshop content and shared learning approach resulted in significant improvements in participant's knowledge, attitude, self-beliefs and confidence in neonatal palliative care, enhanced awareness of services, and improved links between professionals. Participants cascaded their learning to their teams and provided examples of changes in their clinical practice following the workshop. Parent stories were identified as a very powerful component of the training, with lasting impact on participants. Formal, integrated palliative care education programs for perinatal and neonatal staff and longitudinal research into the impact on practice and the experience received by families are needed.