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Women at Risk of Periviable Birth, Providers ID Priorities

Agree on importance of information provision, support, but have several areas of discordance

THURSDAY, April 22 (HealthDay News) -- Patients and health care providers agree that information provision and emotional support are fundamentally important for women at risk of periviable delivery, but there are pitfalls that can impair the provider-patient relationship if not avoided, according to a study in the May issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

William A. Grobman, M.D., of Northwestern University Medical School in Chicago, and colleagues recruited women at high risk of having an extremely premature infant from three tertiary care hospitals with level three neonatal intensive care units. Forty women, 14 fathers, and 52 health care providers underwent structured interviews prior to and after delivery.

All participants agreed on the fundamental importance of two main themes: information provision and emotional support; but the researchers noted several areas of discordance among participants. They found that nearly one-third of parents emphasized the importance of "hope." In addition, 60 percent of parents recommended the provision of supplementary written materials, and 45 percent recommended the provision of supplementary Internet materials. However, supplementary written and Internet materials were recommended by only 15 and 5 percent of physicians, respectively, because of concern that supplementary materials may be misleading.

"The data from the present study provide insight for health care professionals into the approaches that can be used to enhance information transfer, and into pitfalls that, if not avoided, can lead to missed or misconstrued information and the fracture of the therapeutic bond," the authors write.

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