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Empathic Care of Neonates: A Critical Literature Review.

Permanente Journal 2024 Februrary 10
Clinical empathy is a multidimensional ability to feel the patient's suffering, branched into components such as cognitive, emotional, and action, which results in benefits for patients, parents, health professionals, medical students, and others. The authors performed a critical review of the literature about empathy in neonatal care, in 2 databases, and analyzed the co-occurrence of keywords in the last 10 years. Nine articles were included in the qualitative synthesis. They highlight the interconnection between empathy, communication, ethics, and palliative care. Empathy was analyzed in situations that included pain, death, and suffering in the neonate, especially related to critically ill neonates. Strategies such as self-reflection and digital storytelling may help increase the clinical empathy education of health professionals. There are gaps in research considering the measurement of clinical empathy in neonatal care, and this measurement should be encouraged. To change care practices, education on empathy for health professionals, especially physicians, should be improved.

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