Palliative care for the neonate with a life limiting condition is an active and total approach to care from the point of diagnosis or recognition, throughout the childÃ¢â¬â¢s life, death and beyond. It embraces physical, emotional, social and spiritual elements and focuses on the enhancement of quality of life for the baby and support for the family. It includes the management of distressing symptoms, provision of short breaks and care through death and bereavement. While advances in neonatal medicine have increased the possibility of sustaining life for many infants, more infants still die in the neonatal period (birth to 27 days of life) than those in any other time in childhood. Despite this statistic, there still remains much that is unknown about both the needs and the care of these critically ill babies. Palliative care is a viable option for many of these infants and their families. However, palliative care is rarely provided as an option for families. To provide healthcare providers with an overview of palliative and end-of-life care for infants in the neonatal period, we conducted an integrative review of the current research literature. Advances in neonatal intensive care have lowered the neonatal death rate. There are still some severely ill neonates and infants, however, for whom the application of all possible life-prolonging treatment modalities may be questioned.
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Last date updated on September, 2014