Mother-clinician discussions in the neonatal intensive care unit: Agree to disagree

S. De Wit, P. K. Donohue, J. Shepard, R. D. Boss

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Objective:To compare mothers' and clinicians' understanding of an infant's illness and perceptions of discussion quality in the neonatal intensive care unit.Study Design:English-speaking mothers with an infant admitted to the intensive care unit for at least 48 h were interviewed using a semi-structured survey. The clinician whom the mother had spoken to and identified was also surveyed. Interviews were audiotaped and transcribed.Result:A total of 101 mother-clinician pairs were interviewed. Most mothers (89%) and clinicians (92%) felt that their discussions had gone well. Almost all mothers could identify one of their infant's diagnoses (100%) and treatments (93.4%). Mothers and clinicians disagreed on infant illness severity 45% of the time. The majority of mothers (62.5%) who disagreed with clinician estimate of infant illness severity believed their infant to be less sick than indicated by the clinician.Conclusion:Mother-clinician satisfaction with communication does not ensure mother-clinician agreement about an infant's medical status.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)278-281
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Perinatology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Mar 2013


  • communication
  • critical illness
  • understanding

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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