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ABOUT: The SuPPORT Project

Many neonatal resuscitations occur with the mother awake under a regional block, with the birthing partner present.

The anaesthetic team are often the professionals in the closest contact with mothers and their birth partners during neonatal resuscitation efforts and are frequently called upon to give clinical updates to parents on the wellbeing of the baby. However, they are not currently provided with any specific training and largely rely on transferable skills and natural empathy in their approach. Some may naturally know what is best to say, and yet others may be left feeling underprepared and concerned that they could not find the right words to say during this difficult time.

Communication during these potentially traumatic events can have long lasting psychological effects. We, as healthcare professionals, have the potential to provide comfort, prevent harm and alleviate additional stress, by communicating appropriately and compassionately with these families.

Guidance cannot be formulated for such challenging circumstances without learning what mothers, fathers and birthing partners want from their anaesthetic team during this time, and by investigating the lived experiences, challenges and barriers met by anaesthetic team members. Only by learning from those directly involved can we really determine what constitutes ‘best practice’.

The SuPPORT Project is all about exploring current practice, establishing best practice, and supporting anaesthetic practitioners to provide high quality communication during such challenging circumstances.

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