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Ir Med J. 2017 Feb 10;110(2):512.

Communication skills in Obstetrics: what can we learn from bereaved parents?

Author information

1
Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University College Cork, Cork University Maternity Hospital, Wilton, Cork, Ireland.
2
National Perinatal Epidemiology Centre, University College Cork, Cork University Maternity Hospital, Wilton, Cork, Ireland.
3
3Irish Centre for Fetal and Neonatal Translational Research (INFANT), Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland.

Abstract

Communicating bad news in obstetrics is challenging. This study explores the impact of how bad news was communicated to parents following a diagnosis of stillbirth. Qualitative in-depth interviews were conducted with 12 mothers and 5 fathers, bereaved following stillbirth at a tertiary maternity hospital where the perinatal mortality rate is 5.2/1000. Data were analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. How the diagnosis of stillbirth was communicated had a profound and lasting impact on parents. Dominant superordinate themes were Language used, Sensitivity and Diversionary techniques. Parents recalled in detail where and how bad news was broken and language used. Diversionary techniques created a sense of mistrust especially when parents felt information was being withheld. Bereaved parents valued privacy at the time of diagnosis of stillbirth.This study highlights the importance of language, sensitivity and environment where clinicians can learn from the experiences of bereaved parents who value open, sensitive and honest communication. The results of this study highlight the importance of patient-focused communication training for clinicians.

PMID:
28657257

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