Episode 77: Palliative Care in the NICU

Dr. Elvira Parravicini, palliative care, nicu, nicu babies parent support podcast, hand to hold

Dr. Elvira Parravicini, Neonatologist, Neonatal Comfort Care Program Director, Columbia University

Content warning: In this episode we talk about death and dying.

Not every baby leaves the NICU, but it has been Dr. Elvira Parravicini’s passion to serve those families with infants who have life-limited or life-threatening illnesses. The Neonatal Comfort Care Program seeks to address those needs and support those families from diagnosis, to delivery and beyond.

In this episode, we chat about:

  • How were you led from your specialty of perinatology and neonatology to your work in palliative care?
  • Can you define what palliative care means?
  • What is the Neonatal Comfort Care Program and how does it assist parents?
  • If a parent has a baby who has a life-limiting or life-threatening condition, what can they expect in a neonatal program and how does that differ from adult palliative care?
  • End of life issues are complicated and very personal, how do you accompany a family through an extraordinarily difficult experience while respecting their wishes?
  • If a hospital does not have a service similar to yours, what are some things a parent can do, or people they can reach out, to assist them in giving honor to their baby’s life?
  • What’s one myth you’d like to confront when it comes to palliative care?
  • What’s your best advice to a parent who has a child who won’t be leaving the NICU?

Dr. Elvira Parravicini is an attending neonatologist at NewYork Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital, the Director of the Neonatal Comfort Care Program and an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Columbia University Medical Center. She obtained a certification in palliative medicine from Harvard University. She was born, raised and went to school in Milan, Italy, and moved to the United States in 1994. Her passion for helping the most fragile patients in the neonatal population inspired Dr. Parravicini to create a unique and innovative program for infants affected by life-limiting or Life-threatening conditions. The Neonatal Comfort Care Program addresses the complex medical and non-medical needs of infants and their families. The interdisciplinary Neonatal Comfort Care team supports expectant mothers of babies diagnosed with a life-limiting condition during the perinatal journey, from diagnosis to delivery and beyond.

Palliative Care Training Course

Connect with Dr. Parravicini:

Website: neonatalcomfortcare.com

Watch on YouTube

Subscribe to and Rate NICU Babies, Parent Support!

Never miss out by subscribing to our channel here

Help other people find the show by sharing this video on your social media!

Listen and Subscribe

google podcasts
YouTube logo

The NICU is hard. We’re here to help.

Hand to Hold is a national nonprofit dedicated to providing neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) parents with personalized emotional support, educational resources and community before, during and after their baby’s NICU stay. NICU support is available at no cost to NICU parents in English and Spanish.

Connect with Hand to Hold:

Learn more or get support at handtohold.org.

Follow Hand to Hold on social media:


Thank you!

Hand to Hold's podcasts are produced by Hand to Hold, which is solely responsible for content. 

Support Our Podcasts!

Donate now to ensure families continue to receive family-friendly support through the NICU Now Podcast! If you are interested in sponsoring an episode, please contact Sarah Inbau.

Suggestions or comments?

We’d love to hear from you! Leave us a review and give your feedback here.

This page was last modified on Jul 26, 2023 @ 9:35 am. If you see any information that needs to be updated or corrected, please contact info@handtohold.org.