Family-Centered Care for Children and Families Impacted by Neonatal Seizures: Advice From Parents

Neonatal Seizure Registry, Renée A. Shellhaas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Background: Parents of neonates with seizures are at risk of mental health symptoms due to the impact of illness on family life, prognostic uncertainty, and the emotional toll of hospitalization. A family-centered approach is the preferred model to mitigate these challenges. We aimed to identify strategies to promote family-centered care through an analysis of parent-offered advice to clinicians caring for neonates with seizures. Methods: This prospective, observational, and multicenter (Neonatal Seizure Registry) study enrolled parents of neonates with acute symptomatic seizures. Parents completed surveys about family well-being at 12, 18, and 24 months corrected gestational age. Parents were asked open-ended questions eliciting their advice to clinicians caring for neonates with seizures. Responses were analyzed using a conventional content analysis approach. Results: Among the 310 parents who completed surveys, 118 (38%) shared advice for clinicians. These parents were predominantly mothers (n = 103, 87%). Three overarching themes were identified. (1) Communicate information effectively: parents appreciate when clinicians offer transparent and balanced information in an accessible way. (2) Understand and validate parent experience: parents value clinicians who display empathy, compassion, and a commitment to parent-partnered clinical care. (3) Provide support and resources: parents benefit from emotional support, education, connection with peers, and help navigating the health care system. Conclusions: Parents caring for neonates with seizures appreciate a family-centered approach in health care encounters, including skilled communication, understanding and validation of the parent experience, and provision of support and resources. Future interventions should focus on building structures to reinforce these priorities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26-32
Number of pages7
JournalPediatric Neurology
StatePublished - Nov 2021


  • Communication
  • Mental Health
  • Neonate
  • Neurology


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