Supporting families in their child's journey with neonatal encephalopathy and therapeutic hypothermia

Document Type


Publication Date



Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital Scholars Academy, Pediatrics

Journal Title

Seminars in fetal & neonatal medicine

MeSH Headings

Brain Diseases; Child; Humans; Hypothermia, Induced; Infant; Infant, Newborn; Parents (psychology)


Neonates and families face challenges in hypothermic therapy, including trauma to parents, extreme emotions, and unfamiliarity with the medical system. Communication is an essential element to supporting parents while their children are in the NICU, and beyond, building the foundation for the ongoing relationship the family has with the medical system. Significant consideration needs to be given to the critical element of integrating the family into the care of a baby being treated with therapeutic hypothermia. Clinicians can promote healing of accumulated traumas of parents through ensuring parent's emotional safety, facilitating a trusting relationship, and promoting parent empowerment. Connecting parents with resources, especially peer support, is an essential part of a hospital stay. In this chapter, we explore best practices to support families during and after hypothermic therapy.

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