November 5, 2021
This past week, St. Mary’s Palliative Care Program Manager, Marianne Muzic-Lucenti, LCSW, APHSW-C presented a breakout session on “Perinatal Palliative Care; Support for Families Across the Continuum of Care” alongside Deborah Campbell, MD, FAAP, Children’s Hospital at Montefiore at the Hospice & Palliative Care Association of New York’s (HPCANYS) 41st Annual Conference in Albany, New York.
Perinatal palliative care is a specialized approach that supports the unique needs of families who choose to continue their pregnancy after receiving a prenatal diagnosis of a potentially life-limiting condition for their baby, or who experience the unanticipated birth of an extremely low birth weight, extremely preterm infant, or an infant with critical illness at birth.
Marianne and Dr. Campbell’s presentation addressed the difficult process of decision-making within the families’ experiences, beliefs and values, as well as the support required to achieve informed parental decisions. Perinatal palliative care encourages collaboration in decision-making and care planning, balancing autonomy and parental authority with prognosis and medical recommendations. They also spoke on the Implementation of Birth and Peaceful Dying Plans, as well as healing distress and promoting quality of life through legacy building.
Throughout their discussion, they explored common concepts in perinatal palliative care, and how this differs from adult palliative care, the needs of families experiencing a life-threatening prenatal diagnosis or an unanticipated preterm or sick infant birth, the difference between a palliative birth plan and a peaceful dying plan, various modalities of legacy work and the benefits it offers the family system and family support across the continuum of perinatal palliative care.
Both Marianne and Dr. Campbell sit on the HPCANYS Pediatric Palliative Care Advisory Board which focuses on enhancing pediatric palliative care training and education in the community.