Publication Date

12-1-2010

School

College of Arts and Sciences

Major

Nursing (B.S.N.)

Primary Subject Area

Health Sciences, Nursing

Keywords

Anencephaly, neural tube defect, organ donation, nursing, palliative care

Disciplines

Maternal, Child Health and Neonatal Nursing

Abstract

Anencephaly is a neural tube defect that severely limits the lifespan of affected infants. While these infants have no higher brain function, they are still persons, and should be given the same moral and ethical considerations as healthy infants. With this in mind, organ donation procedures should follow the same guidelines that apply to other donors. Because a large part of nursing care for anencephalic infants is palliative care, nurses need appropriate training to care effectively for both the infant and the family, providing for physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual needs.