Perinatal Palliative Care Unit

Individualized end-of-life care and family-centered grief

The Perinatal Palliative Care Unit of the Clinic is based on a model of comprehensive care that is actively carried out during pregnancy, delivery and postpartum, after the diagnosis of an illness that
threatens the life of the baby
and whose death may occur before delivery or at some point close to birth.

This care is provided after the diagnosis of illnesses that are not curable at the present time and whose life expectancy is expected to be short (such as
Patau Syndrome, Edwards Syndrome, Potter Syndrome, anencephaly...). Also in the case that the baby is very premature and is below the limits of viability, or if it suffers a pathology that could lead to imminent death.

In recent years, perinatal palliative care has been evolving: at first it was focused solely on medical care to alleviate the pain of the fetus/baby, until the vision of a more global management that is now used in some centers, including the Clinica Universidad de Navarra.

Individualized and family-centered newborn care and grief

Our Multidisciplinary Perinatal Palliative Care Unit consists of neonatologists, obstetricians, midwives and neonatal nurses

The Unit is committed to the global care of the baby, the mother and her family and the integration of this in the decision making process.

The result of this care is an experience of the newborn's life time that makes it special and unique for the family, agreeing with them how they want to live that moment. This will help them to live the grief in a less difficult way.

  • Accompaniment of the family.
  • Resolution of the family's doubts during pregnancy, birth and postpartum.
  • Avoiding the separation of the parents and their child at the time of delivery.
  • Creation of a memory box for the parents.
  • Possibility of accompaniment by the rest of the family.
  • The mother's entrance in a different area from the rest of the newborns.

We work with protocols to ensure individualized attention

Multidisciplinary evaluation

Initial assessment with all the necessary specialists where the baby's illness is exposed, family situation, possible care, therapeutic options, or the type of delivery, among other aspects.

Prenatal Consultations

Parents go to the obstetrician and
neonatologist (plus the necessary specialist) to solve doubts and include them in the decision making process (skin on skin, entry of relatives, memory box...)

Time of birth

Whether it is a natural birth or a cesarean section, the father is allowed to enter. The goal is to provide a calm and safe environment, without stress, where the privacy of the family is respected.

Care at death

If the baby dies in the first few minutes/hours, the professionals, who already know the specific wishes of the family, have previously organized everything to fulfill their wishes.

In-house follow-up

If the baby is discharged, professionals continue to be involved in the follow-up to continue palliative care at home.