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Communicating a diagnosis with the family of a newborn baby

26 February 2014

As part of the activities of the Early Intervention Programme, Karin Dom Foundation organized 2-day workshop on 24 and 25 February 2014. The goal of the seminar was to give the participants the underlying principles, needed knowledge and algorithm for communicating a diagnosis with the family of a newborn baby.

The seminar was led by Svetlana Chivgunova and Sevdzyhan Eybova who shared their knowledge and personal work experience related to that matter. 

Svetlana is a clinical psychologist at the Specialised Pediatric Clinic of Clinical Hematology and Oncology – University Hospital “St. Marina” – Varna. Sevdzyhan is a clinical psychologist at the Multiprofile Hospital for Active Treatment – Shumen and an associated trainer at Karin Dom.

The training gathered together doctors and medical specialists from maternity hospitals, general practitioners, specialists from hospitals and other centres. They all acknowledge the necessity of such trainings and knowledge on the subject. 

In this connection, parent of a child with Down Syndrome shares: “The decision of giving up a child can be made very quickly and very emotionally, during the first hours after the birth. The line between the two decisions is very thin and can be easily crossed. In this particular moment, the state of mind of the mother is very unstable and can be influenced just as easy. Especially if she is feeling pressured by several sides. The doctor is the one who gives the initial information and it is very important how he or she will do it and in what direction will he/she direct the mother’s thoughts.”

The trainers stressed on how important open communication is between medical specialists and the families: the doctor should reach out to the parents and assure them that they have his/her support. Building trust between doctors and parents is an important condition for their joint cause – doing what is best for the child. The active work of the neonatologists at the Obstetrics and Gynecology hospital in Varna, showed that it is “absolutely necessary to have a psychologist at a maternity home” since the levels of pressure and stress are too high and cannot be handled only by the doctor.

We hope that after this seminar, the participants are feeling more confident on the matter of what to expect, how to overcome the obstacles and how to prepare themselves when they have to be the first to communicate the diagnosis with the family of a newborn child.

The exceptional interest towards the seminar has motivated Karin Dom to organize more trainings on the subject in the future. Subscribe for our newsletter if you want to receive updates about our upcoming trainings (in Bulgarian) – registration form.