Neonatal ethics teaching program-scenario-oriented learning in ethics: announcing the diagnosis of trisomy 21

Abstract

Introduction: Delivering unexpected news to families can lead to emotionally charged conversations that cause discomfort and feelings of ineffectiveness in pediatric postgraduate trainees. Although prenatal screening exists, over 80% of trisomy 21 diagnoses continue to be made postnatally to unsuspecting parents who report a desire for better communication from health care professionals when they first receive the news of their child’s diagnosis. Recognizing this area for improvement as reported in the literature, as well as the expressed desire from fellows in the University of Ottawa neonatal-perinatal medicine program for additional protected time to preemptively practice such disclosures, this trisomy 21 Scenario-Oriented Learning in Ethics workshop was developed. Methods: During the workshop, trainees are introduced to an evidence-based communication framework that provides them with strategies to facilitate clear knowledge translation and promote rapport with families for this specific clinical scenario. Participants are divided into small groups and practice disclosing a trisomy 21 diagnosis to a standardized patient in the role of a new mother. Each small group is supported by two trained facilitators who are experts in delivering life-altering news. Results: The pilot workshop was completed by 21 postgraduate trainees from the University of Ottawa. Qualitative evaluations were overwhelmingly positive, with feedback indicating high levels of perceived usefulness for the workshop. Discussion: By preemptively practicing evidence-based communication, we hope to increase trainee confidence and preparation for trisomy 21 disclosures and improve parents’ feelings regarding the quality of communication and support provided while receiving real-life trisomy 21 diagnoses.

Lead Researchers

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Researchers

  1. Samantha Boggs

    Investigator, CHEO Research Institute

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  2. Nadya Ben Fadel

    Investigator, CHEO Research Institute

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  3. Gregory Moore

    Investigator, CHEO Research Institute

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