NRL News

Parents welcome Irish doctors’ motion calling for perinatal hospice care

by | Apr 17, 2015

By Life Institute

newbornhand34Parents whose unborn children were diagnosed with life-limiting conditions such as anencephaly and Trisomy 13 have welcomed the decision of doctors at the conference of the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) to call for the provision of perinatal hospice care.

The motion, proposed by Dr. John Kehoe, which stated that “The IMO supports the provision of Perinatal palliative Care facilities and calls on the Minister for Health to bring forward proposals and make provision for a dedicated Perinatal palliative care nationally” was approved by the doctors conference today.

Tracy Harkin of the advocacy organisation, Every Life Counts, said that parents who were facing such a difficult diagnosis would be ensured of better care if the Minister for Health took note of the IMO motion.

“We’ve seen from the experiences of our members that perinatal hospice care – a new form of care which offers support to the parents and baby around the time of birth – is essential at this difficult time. The good news is that this care it is not expensive to provide, being mostly about continuity of care, providing bereavement midwives and counsellors and photographers, and being open to assisting the family and baby after birth so that the baby’s life, however short, is valued and celebrated,” said Ms. Harkin.

She added, “Right now, we’re seeing parents being told to ‘go and Google’ conditions like Trisomy 18 or anencephaly and, while services have certainly improved in Ireland in the past decade, the improvement is patchy. More worryingly, some attitudes have changed, not for the better but for worse, in that parents find their babies are being dismissed as ‘incompatible with life’, a phrase which is not a medical diagnosis but which has unfortunately become common currency.

Ms. Harkin concluded, “This IMO motion has been passed at a time when parents are calling for an end to misleading terms like ‘incompatible with life’ and for best care to be made available to parents who are already very distressed and who gain so much from the gift of time with their sick children.”

Categories: Hospice