Neonatal death and parents' grief. Experience, behaviour and attitudes of Swedish nurses

Anita Lundqvist, Tore Nilstun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The aim of the present study was to survey the experience, behaviour and attitudes of nurses in Swedish neonatal wards towards parents who refuse or are reluctant to see, touch or hold their dying or dead baby. A questionnaire was distributed to 173 nurses, of whom 144 responded. The questionnaire contained questions about the nurses' own experience of such situations, their behaviour, and their attitude towards influencing the parents. Seventy-four percent answered that they had experience of such situations, 59% that they often tried to persuade or in other ways influence the parents to change their mind, and 60% were of the opinion that the parents mourning-process is always facilitated when they touch or hold their dead baby. Most nurses (83%) were of the opinion that the conflict between beneficence and autonomy was difficult but not impossible to solve. A majority of the nurses were inclined to give priority to the principle of beneficence. But is this inclination ethically justified? A well-founded answer to this question requires more knowledge about the experiences of parents who have lived through such traumatic situations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)246-250
JournalScandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1998

Bibliographical note

The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015.
The record was previously connected to the following departments: Division of Nursing (Closed 2012) (013065000), Department of Medical Ethics (013230023)

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Nursing


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