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University Health

Newborn Palliative Care

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Call us at 210-358-8255 to request an appointment with a specialist or for more information.

Newborn Palliative Care

If a health condition causes symptoms or affects your baby’s quality of life, turn to the compassionate, experienced perinatal palliative care team at University Health in San Antonio.

What is Infant Palliative Care?

Palliative care is special medical care for infants whose life may be limited — during pregnancy, at the time of birth and after birth. Your infant may receive care as a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) patient or by a doctor’s referral. Your baby’s care team will manage any discomfort, relieving pain and other symptoms associated with serious illnesses.

Conditions Treated

Get exceptional palliative care services for a broad range of serious illnesses and genetic and rare diseases that affect babies, such as:

  • Abnormal brain development (holoprosencephaly)
  • Abnormal development of the diaphragm, anencephaly
  • Birth disabilities of the brain, spine or spinal cord
  • Bone growth disorders
  • Congenital and genetic diseases
  • Congenital heart defects
  • Extremely preterm labor/delivery
    • Hydranencephaly/congenital hydrocephalus
    • Hypoplastic left heart syndrome
  • Kidney problems
  • Large abdominal wall defects
    • Low amniotic fluid (oligohydramnios)
    • No kidneys at birth
  • Other conditions that carry a high risk of severe sickness or death
    • Polycystic kidney disease (PKD)
    • Single ventricle
  • Third-trimester fetal death
  • Trisomy 13 and 18 chromosome disorders

Certified, Advanced Palliative Care

Feel confident your baby will get excellent care at University Health because we have advanced palliative care certification from The Joint Commission. That means our hospital program provides high-quality, patient and family-centered care. This includes specialized medical care to enhance the quality of life for pediatric patients with serious illness. 

Loving Care for Babies & Families

Rest assured, we will get to know your family and be a source of support when you need it most. We work with your child’s whole medical team to develop and customize a medical plan of care that is best for your baby’s overall health and quality of life.

Skilled, Expert Care Team

Lean on our dedicated professionals to help you, your family and newborn through a difficult illness or long hospitalization. Your palliative care team at University Health may include:

  • Pediatric palliative care physicians
  • Maternal-fetal medicine specialists
  • Pediatric nurse practitioner
  • Pediatric nurses
  • Certified child life specialists
  • Dietitian
  • Social worker
  • Pediatric chaplains

Care Goals

As a parent, you’ll be part of all decision-making processes. Depend on us to help you develop a birth plan tailored to your values and wishes.

When your baby is born, expect their care to follow your social, emotional, spiritual and cultural preferences. Regular assessment of care goals is part of our process.

How Palliative Care Can Help

Trust our team to manage the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of families with seriously ill infants. We work closely with your baby’s doctor to create a safe medical plan that respects your wishes for your baby.

Palliative Care Support Services

Rely on your perinatal palliative care team to guide and comfort you during this time. Your specialist will provide regular communication to help you:

  • Understand your child’s illness and the medical options available
  • Know what to expect during your hospital stay
  • Develop detailed birth plans
  • Set goals in the care process
  • Organize future care for your child

When you need assistance or comfort, your team can provide you:

  • Symptom management
  • Medical decision guidance
  • Emotional and spiritual support
  • Coordination with home care services
  • End-of-life care if needed

Bonding with Your Baby

If your child has a condition that cannot be cured with short life expectancy after birth, your care team will help you plan the memories you want with your child during and after delivery. Create bonding moments through:

  • Recording footprints and handprints and taking pictures
  • Dedication or blessing for your baby
  • Dressing baby in special outfits
  • Family moments and milestones with your baby, such as holding, reading to your baby or celebrating their life
  • Sibling support

Care Beyond Delivery

Call on our perinatal palliative care experts from diagnosis throughout your child’s life. Partner with us to continue services when your baby leaves the hospital.

Pediatric Care

Your child has a pediatric care team at University Hospital that provides care throughout their hospital stay, during subsequent hospitalizations and after they leave the hospital. Care and treatment continue through our University Children’s Health Comprehensive Care Clinic, where we provide primary care for children with specialized health and medical needs.

End-of-Life Care

End-of-life care is one part of palliative care at University Hospital. This type of care supports a peaceful, dignified passing and provides thorough support to you and your family.

When you experience the loss of your baby, we will connect you with community resources for funeral, burial and cremation services.

Loss & Grief

Connect with grief and bereavement support services with the help of your care team. Participate in the art and activities available at University Hospital to help you heal.

Doctors
  1. Brook Thomson, MD
    Obstetrics & Gynecology
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  2. Cristina Wallace Huff, MD
    Obstetrics & Gynecology
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  3. Sarah Vanarendonk, MD
    Obstetrics & Gynecology
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