Reciprocal Relationships: the Genetic Counselor-Patient Relationship Following a Life-Limiting Prenatal Diagnosis
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Utilizing the tenet, “Relationship is integral to the genetic counseling process” from the Reciprocal Engagement Model (REM) of genetic counseling practice, this study sought to explore the relationship between the genetic counselor and patient following a “life-limiting” prenatal diagnosis that resulted in a major loss (termination, stillbirth/miscarriage, or neonatal death). The specific aims of this study were to: 1) Understand and describe aspects of the genetic counselor-patient relationship in the context of the life-limiting prenatal diagnosis, and identify characteristics and actions of the 2) genetic counselor and 3) patient that influence the relationship. Genetic counselor (GC) participants were recruited via a web-based survey distributed by NSGC and the NSGC Prenatal SIG. Eligible GCs maintained a relationship with a patient beyond the prenatal diagnosis and had a willing patient participant. Individual 60-min audio-recorded telephone interviews were conducted with eight GC and 8 respective patients (n = 16) using parallel interview guides (n = 16). Transcriptions underwent thematic content analysis for systematic coding and identification of emergent themes. The GC-patient relationship was characterized by the evolution of communication and promoted by the supportive needs of the patient, the nature of the diagnosis, and characteristics and supportive actions of the participants. This exploratory study highlights the unique service of support offered by genetic counselors in the context of a life-limiting prenatal diagnosis.
KeywordsReciprocal-engagement model Rem Prenatal diagnosis Life-limiting Lethal Genetic counseling Relationship
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
Authors Williams, S. R., Author Berrier, K. L., Author Redlinger-Grosse, K. and Author Edwards, J. declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All procedures followed were in accordance with the ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation (institutional and national) and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, as revised in 2000 (5).
Informed consent was obtained from all patients for being included in the study.
This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.
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