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„To Tell a Parent! Delivering a Difficult News“ – discussion of a team of Karin Dom with medical specialists from Obstetrics & Gynecology Hospital – Varna

1 March 2017

By the request of Obstetrics & Gynecology Hospital – Varna, the specialists from Karin Dom led a discussion on the topic of: “To Tell a Parent! Delivering a Difficult News”.

13 medical specialists took part in the two days meeting, among them were the head of wards and the two senior midwives from the maternity ward and the children’s intensive unit with the OG Hospital in Varna.

The goal we had was to teach the medical specialists the skill to recognize the emotional needs of the parents and the newborns.

There is a way for the difficult news to be told in a way that will decrease significantly the level of stress for both the parents and the medical staff who are faced with the challenge to bring this difficult news. The medics expressed the wish to learn more about how to talk with the parents of newborns in risk – children who are born with complications from before, during or after birth, premature children, children with disabilities, or in case when death of newborn has to be announced.

The topic was presented by the specialists from Karin Dom’s Early Intervention team – Elena Todorova (psychologist and consultant in early child development) and Marina Peicheva (social consultant) who provide psychological-emotional support for the families while in the maternity ward and answer to questions on child development and the following interventions.

Very emotional was the reaction of the media when they were presented the story of little Luchezar. The child was born in the 30 week by an emergency C-section due to intrauterine suffering, cardiomegaly and hydramnios. In medium state of distress weighting 1600gr and high of 38cm., hydrocephalus, retinopathy of prematurity and seizure symptoms. The parents were directed to program “Early Intervention” at Karin Dom during the first hours after the birth and thanks to the joint efforts of the medical staff and the following tracking of the condition by the team of Karin Dom (physiotherapist, speech therapist and special teacher), the child is having stable first steps, first words and independent feeding by the age of 1 year and 8 months. The team has been working with Luchezar since he was 3 months old. The family has been given new directions and the mother is going through a training in applying exercises on the motor development, feeding and drinking and the child’s cognitive skills. The child’s sight and orientation in space are also being stimulated.

The medics learned more about the “Early Intervention” service, when and how to help the inclusion of the parents and how useful meeting the team’s specialists can be.

773 children have been part of the program for the 2011-2016 period. At present, the specialists from Karin Dom are working with 88 families with more than 20% of the children are born prematurely. Early Intervention is a relatively new service in Bulgaria that was realized with the support of Varna Municipality and is available for all families from the city who have children in risk of developmental delay. The service includes home visitations by: physiotherapist, speech therapist, psychologist and social worker. A great success of the program is that 37% of the children overcome the delays and have no need of further therapy. The Karin Dom specialists think that it is extremely important for the family to have the opportunity to have a meeting with a psychologist at the maternity ward after the birth of a child in risk. Such opportunity already exists in an OG hospital with which Karin Dom has built an excellent partnership. This helps the parents to accept more quickly the condition of their child and to be directed to services and specialists that the child needs.

We want to thank the staff of OG hospital for the invitation, the active participation and the given time despite their busy schedule. We are glad that in them, we found partners and professionals who will be beside the mother in the most difficult of times.

*The name of the child is changed in order to keep the family’s confidentiality.

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