BACKGROUND: Racial and ethnic disparities in the provision of end-of-life care are well described in the adult oncology literature. However, the impact of racial and ethnic disparities at end of life in the context of pediatric oncology remains poorly understood.
OBJECTIVE: To investigate associations between end-of-life experiences and race/ethnicity for pediatric patients with cancer.
METHODS:: A retrospective cohort study was conducted on 321 children with cancer enrolled on a palliative care service at an urban pediatric cancer who died between 2011 and 2015.
RESULTS: Compared to white patients, black patients were more likely to receive cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR; odds ratio [OR]: 4.109, confidence interval [CI]: 1.432-11.790, P = .009) and underwent 3.136 (CI: 1.433-6.869, P = .004) CPR events for every 1 white patient CPR event. The remainder of variables related to treatment and end-of-life care were not significantly correlated with race. Hispanic patients were less likely to receive cancer-directed therapy within 28 days prior to death (OR: 0.493, CI: 0.247-0.982, P = .044) as compared to non-Hispanic patients, yet they were more likely to report a goal of cure over comfort as compared to non-Hispanic patients (OR: 3.094, CI: 1.043-9.174, P = .042). The remainder of variables were not found to be significantly correlated with ethnicity.
CONCLUSIONS: Race and ethnicity influenced select end-of-life variables for pediatric palliative oncology patients treated at a large urban pediatric cancer center. Further multicenter investigation is needed to ascertain the impact of racial/ethnic disparities on end-of-life experiences of children with cancer.
Les mots "soins palliatifs" génèrent de nombreuses émotions pour le patient à qui le diagnostic est posé. Quand il n’y a plus rien à faire, tout reste à construire… Tout reste à "écrire", à "dire", à "vivre". L’accompagnement en soins palliatifs prend sens lorsqu’il s’inscrit dans une dynamique pluridisciplinaire. La musicothérapie vient donc prendre place dans ce travail d’équipe. Après avoir rencontré le patient lors d’un bilan psychomusical, le musicothérapeute pourra donc proposer un accompagnement personnalisé et adapté aux besoins et aux possibilités de celui-ci. Dans cet article, nous avons fait le choix de vous présenter deux techniques de musicothérapie réceptive, que nous développons dans nos pratiques cliniques en pédiatrie et en gériatrie.
Ce n’est que depuis 2008 que les soins palliatifs pédiatriques sont clairement évoqués en France. Ils sont définis comme des soins allant de la période anténatale jusqu’à 19 ans, dès que l’enfant est atteint d’une maladie qui limite ou menace sa durée de vie. De nombreuses infirmières peuvent, au cours de leur carrière, y être confrontées en établissement sanitaire ou médico-social. Ils nécessitent une prise en charge pluridisciplinaire et une coordination de tous les professionnels de santé concernés par la prise en charge.
Objective: The objective of this study was to estimate palliative care needs and to describe the cohort of children with life-limiting illnesses (LLI) dying in hospitals.
Design: This study was a retrospective cohort study. The national hospital admissions database was reviewed and children who had died who had life-limiting illnesses were identified.
Setting: This study was conducted at Ministry of Health hospitals, Malaysia.
Patients: Children aged 18 years and below who had died between January 1, 2012 and December 31, 2014.
Main Outcome Measures: Life-limiting diagnoses based on Hain et al.'s directory of LLI or the ACT/RCPCH categories of life-limiting disease trajectories.
Results: There were 8907 deaths and 3958 (44.4%) were that of children with LLI. The majority, 2531 (63.9%) of children with LLI were neonates, and the most common diagnosis was extreme prematurity <28 weeks with 676 children (26.7%). For the nonneonatal age group, the median age at admission was 42 months (1-216 months). A majority, 456 (32.0%) had diagnoses from the ICD-10 chapter "Neoplasms" followed by 360 (25.3%) who had a diagnoses from "Congenital malformations, deformations, and chromosomal abnormalities" and 139 (9.7%) with diagnoses from "Disease of the nervous system." While a majority of the terminal admissions were to the general ward, there were children from the nonneonatal age group, 202 (14.2%) who died in nonpediatric wards.
Conclusion: Understanding the characteristics of children with LLI who die in hospitals could contribute toward a more efficient pediatric palliative care (PPC) service development. PPC service should include perinatal and neonatal palliative care. Palliative care education needs to extend to nonpediatric healthcare providers who also have to manage children with LLI.
In May 2018, the Right to Try (RTT) Act was signed into law, and it aims to increase access to investigational drugs for people with life-threatening illnesses. Although compassion is widely viewed as the motivating logic of the RTT Act, there are also indisputable economic and political motivations. These motivations reflect the mindset that the development and delivery of cures is being impeded primarily by risk-averse scientists and regulators, when what is required is a bold commitment to save dying people, unencumbered by timid procedural hurdles. Considerable attention has been paid to how this legislation differs from the US Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) existing Expanded Access regulations.2 However, during the bill’s progress through Congress, some of the concerns raised about the potential for unintended negative consequences of the law have been missing from the discussion. Herein, we consider one of these concerns: the Act’s potential to undermine palliative care for children with cancer.
BACKGROUND: Currently available indicators of quality pediatric palliative care tend to focus on care provided during the end-of-life period rather than care provided throughout the disease trajectory. We adapted a previously developed instrument focused on mothers' perspectives on the quality of end-of-life care and assessed its psychometric properties with mothers and fathers of children with cancer at any stage of the illness.
METHODS: Four subscales were included in the analysis: Connect with Families, Involve Parents, Share Information Among Health Professionals, Support Siblings. The number of items across the four subscales was reduced from 31 to 15. We conducted confirmatory factor analysis, composite reliability, internal consistency, and tests of correlation between the overall scale and subscale totals and a separate question inquiring about overall quality of care. Measurement invariance between mothers and fathers was assessed.
RESULTS: A total of 533 mothers and fathers completed the survey. The four-factor model was confirmed and there were significant correlations between each subscale score and responses to the overall item on care quality. Cronbach's alpha was adequate for the scale as a whole and for each subscale ranging from 0.78 to 0.90. We also found the factor structure, means, and intercepts were similar across mothers and fathers, suggesting the tool can be used by both groups.
CONCLUSIONS: There is evidence for a four-factor structure within a new Quality of Children's Palliative Care Instrument (QCPCI) with demonstrated reliability when used with mothers and fathers of children with cancer. Ongoing assessment of the psychometric properties is needed, including testing in additional populations. However, our initial findings suggest that the QCPCI may be a helpful tool for assessing the quality of palliative care for pediatric patients anywhere along the disease trajectory from the perspective of parents.
OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study is to report the benefits and burdens of palliative research participation on children, siblings, parents, clinicians, and researchers.
BACKGROUND: Pediatric palliative care requires research to mature the science and improve interventions. A tension exists between the desire to enhance palliative and end-of-life care for children and their families and the need to protect these potentially vulnerable populations from untoward burdens.
METHODS: Systematic review followed PRISMA guidelines with prepared protocol registered as PROSPERO #CRD42018087304. MEDLINE, CINAHL, PsycINFO, EMBASE, Scopus, and The Cochrane Library were searched (2000-2017). English-language studies depicting the benefits or burdens of palliative care or end-of-life research participation on either pediatric patients and/or their family members, clinicians, or study teams were eligible for inclusion. Study quality was appraised using the Mixed Methods Appraisal Tool (MMAT).
RESULTS: Twenty-four studies met final inclusion criteria. The benefit or burden of palliative care research participation was reported for the child in 6 papers; siblings in 2; parents in 19; clinicians in 3; and researchers in 5 papers. Benefits were more heavily emphasized by patients and family members, whereas burdens were more prominently emphasized by researchers and clinicians. No paper utilized a validated benefit/burden scale.
DISCUSSION: The lack of published exploration into the benefits and burdens of those asked to take part in pediatric palliative care research and those conducting the research is striking. There is a need for implementation of a validated benefit/burden instrument or interview measure as part of pediatric palliative and end-of-life research design and reporting.
PROBLEM: Little is known about how parents perceive their role or the role of health care providers (HCPs) during end-of-life decision making (EOL DM) in the context of the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU).
ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA: The authors searched CINAHL, PubMed, Ovid Medline, Web of Science, Social Science Database, PsycINFO, and Google scholar for English language studies performed in the United States related to parental perception of parental or HCP roles in EOL DM in the PICU since 2008.
SAMPLE: Eleven studies of parents and health care providers (HCPs) of critically ill children in the PICU and/or receiving inpatient pediatric palliative care, and bereaved parents of PICU patients.
RESULTS: Most parents reported belief that EOL DM is within the domain of parental role, a minority felt it was a physician's responsibility. Parental EOL DM is rooted more firmly in emotion and perception and a desire to be a 'good parent' to a child at EOL in the way they see fit than HCP recommendations or 'medical facts'. Parents need HCPs to treat them as allies, communicate well, and be trustworthy.
CONCLUSIONS: Role conflict may exist between parents and HCPs who are prioritizing different attributes of the parental role. The role of the nurse in support of parental role in the PICU is not well-elucidated in the extant literature.
IMPLICATIONS: Future research should focus on what parents need from HCPs, especially nurses, to support their parental role, and factors that facilitate the development of trust and good communication.
Background: The impact of specialty pediatric palliative care (PPC) on intensive care unit (ICU) length of stay for children is unclear.
Objective: To estimate the impact of PPC consultation by analyzing ICU stay as a dynamic outcome over the course of hospitalization.
Patients and Methods: Retrospective cohort study of children hospitalized with diagnoses suggested as referral triggers for PPC at a large academic children's hospital. We assessed ICU stay according to PPC consultation and, using a patient-day analysis, applied multivariable mixed effects logistic regression to predict the odds of being in the ICU on a given day.
Results: The analytic sample included 777 admissions (11,954 hospital days), of which 100 admissions (13%) included PPC consultation. Principal patient demographics were age 8 ± 6 years, 55% male sex, 71% white race, and 52% commercial insurance. Cardiac diagnoses were most frequent (29%) followed by gastrointestinal (22%) and malignant (20%) conditions. Although total ICU stay was longer for admissions, including PPC consultation (compared to admissions where PPC was not consulted), the odds of being in the ICU on a given day were reduced by 79% after PPC consultation (odds ratio [OR] = 0.21; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.13–0.34; p < 0.001) for children with cancer and 85% (OR = 0.15; 95% CI: 0.08–0.26; p < 0.001) for children with nononcologic conditions.
Conclusions: Among children hospitalized with a diagnosis deemed eligible for specialty PPC, the likelihood of being in the ICU on a given day was strongly reduced after PPC consultation, supporting the value of PPC.
BACKGROUND: Legacy-making (i.e., a way for patients with terminal illness to create or do something for others as a means of remembrance) is rising in popularity in palliative medicine, although only one study has examined its impact in a pediatric population.
OBJECTIVE: In response to the gaps in literature, this study (1) examines the impact of legacy artwork on bereaved caregivers' psychological functioning and grief and (2) compares caregivers' perceptions of support provided by the hospital throughout their child's cancer journey between the intervention and control groups.
METHODS: Forty-four caregivers whose children died of cancer completed a demographic questionnaire specifically created for this study, the Brief Symptom Inventory-18, and the Prolonged Grief Disorder-13. They also answered questions regarding supportive services provided to them toward the end of the child's life, at the time of death, and after the child's death. Those caregivers who endorsed participating in legacy artwork were identified as the intervention group, whereas those who did not were classified as the control group.
RESULTS: There were no significant differences in psychological functioning among caregivers who participated in legacy artwork versus those who did not participate. However, caregivers who created legacy artwork with their child reported significantly less symptoms of prolonged grief and a greater perception of support from health care providers compared with caregivers who did not engage in this activity.
CONCLUSION: Although preliminary, these findings suggest that legacy artwork may have the potential to improve grief and overall satisfaction of support from the hospital in bereaved caregivers.
The experiences of end-of-life care by nurses in the pediatric intensive care unit are the subject of this systematic review. Six qualitative articles from three different countries were chosen for the review using methods from Joanna Briggs Institute. The themes discovered included the following: insufficient communication, emotional burden, moral distress from medical futility, strengthening resilience, and taking steps toward hospice. These themes are discussed in detail followed by recommendations for practice to assist nurses in their quest for a good death for their pediatric patients.
The process of advance care planning in dementia is far from straightforward; as dementia progresses, the ability to consider future thoughts and actions becomes compromised, thus affecting decision-making abilities. Family carers find themselves increasingly in a position where they need to inform, or directly make, decisions on behalf of the person with dementia. This article discusses the context and importance of a palliative care approach and recommends rationales and strategies for healthcare professionals to support families affected by dementia to better plan for their future care.
Being able to communicate effectively is an essential skill for all nurses. Communication in paediatric end of life care can be challenging for both the student and lecturer as it is a rare experience and challenging to teach. Innovative approaches to teaching communication skills such as role play, simulation and drama have been used; however there is a dearth of literature examining the use of drama in this specialist context. The aim of this study was to explore the effectiveness of a novel workshop in teaching transferable knowledge and skills in palliative, end of life and bereavement care communication to a convenience sample of first year pre-registration nursing students undertaking clinical skills training at a UK university. Qualitative and quantitative data were obtained from pre and post intervention questionnaires exploring student's perception of communication skills. Qualitative data were analysed thematically and quantitative data presented as standard descriptive statistics. The novel communication workshop facilitated students' exploration of how good and poor communication looks and feels and introduced aids to inform communication in clinical practice. Exposure to different learning approaches provided opportunities to both gain confidence in engaging in new learning activities and develop knowledge and skills through purposeful engagement.
BACKGROUND: Although the need for palliative care is gaining recognition in Southeast Asia, knowledge about how decisions are made for children near the end of life remains sparse.
OBJECTIVE: To explore pediatric intensivists' attitudes and practices surrounding end-of-life care in Vietnam.
METHODS: This is a mixed-methods study conducted at a tertiary pediatric and neonatal intensive care unit in Hanoi. Physicians and nurses completed a quantitative survey about their views on end-of-life care. A subset of these providers participated in semistructured interviews on related topics. Analysis of surveys and interviews were conducted. Results were triangulated.
RESULTS: Sixty-eight providers (33 physicians and 35 nurses) completed the quantitative survey, and 18 participated in interviews. Qualitative data revealed three overarching themes with numerous subthemes and supporting quotations. The first theme was factors influencing providers' decision-making process to escalate or withdraw treatment. Quantitative data showed that 40% of providers valued the family's ability to pay to continue life-sustaining treatment. Second, communication dynamics in decision making were highlighted; 72% of providers would be willing to override a family's wishes to withdraw life-sustaining treatment. Third, provider perceptions of death varied, with 68% regarding their patients' deaths as a personal failure.
CONCLUSIONS: We elicited and documented how pediatric intensivists in Vietnam currently think about and provide end-of-life care. These findings indicate a need to strengthen palliative care training, increase family involvement in decision making, implement standardized and official do-not-resuscitate documentation, and expand pediatric hospice services at the individual, hospital, and national levels in Vietnam.
BACKGROUND: Almost 50,000 children and young people are affected by life-limiting conditions in the United Kingdom, around a third of which use children's hospices. Anecdotal evidence suggests that cannabinoid-based medicines (CBMs), specifically cannabis oil (CO), are being used by families with increasing frequency to manage distressing symptoms. The use of most nonprescription CBMs in the United Kingdom remains illegal.
OBJECTIVE: The objective of the study was to identify the prevalence of CO use by families who use children's hospices in the United Kingdom, and the approaches taken by those services to manage it.
DESIGN: An electronic survey was sent to each of the 54 children's hospices in the United Kingdom between May and July 2018, comprising 10 questions.
RESULTS: Forty children's hospices from across the four countries of the United Kingdom responded to the survey, representing 74% of British children's hospices. About 87.5% of hospices knew of children who use CO therapeutically. Sixty-nine percent of those hospices have received requests to administer CO during an episode of care. Approaches by organizations around CO management varied across the sectors, including arrangements for storage, administration, and recording of its use. Hospices highlighted how the lack of available guidance made decision making more challenging. Only a third of responding organizations routinely questioned families about the use of cannabis when prescribing medicines.
CONCLUSION: CO is used extensively by children who use children's hospices. Despite recognizing the use of CO, many hospices are unable to support it. There is a need for clear guidelines on how hospices should approach the care needs of children, allowing hospices to meet the needs of children who use CO, and families in a safe, consistent, and relevant way, safeguarding all children, families, and professionals within the organization.
AIM: The purpose of this study was to compare how planning has developed over the 5 years across a range of children's health care services in a single U.K. city.
BACKGROUND: Advanced planning for end of life care (EOLC) is an essential component of care for children with life-limiting and life-threatening (LLLT) conditions. We report the findings of a follow-up study (R2) completed 5 years after the initial review (R1). Documented advanced care planning (ACP) was measured against published children's palliative care standards.
METHOD: We used a manual retrospective review of health care records, using focused data collection. Inclusion criteria were children who died before the age of 18 years, as a consequence of an LLLT condition, over an 18-month period and had lived locally to a regional children's hospital.
RESULTS: The first review (R1) included 48 patients with 114 health care records: median age at death 0 years (range 0 to 18 years). The follow-up review (R2) included 47 patients, with 80 health care records: median age at death 2 years (range 0 to 17 years). The proportion of records containing evidence of a prognostic discussion had risen from 73% (R1) to 91% (R2), p < 0.005. The proportion of health care records with ACP was consistent between R1 and R2 (75% and 72%, respectively). An ACP tool was found to be in regular use in R2 compared with no examples in R1. The acute hospital trust plans were more detailed in R2 than R1. The proportion of cases where preferred location of death matched actual location was stable, around half.
CONCLUSIONS: EOLC conversations increased over the 5 years studied. In the acute hospital trust, there is evidence of a better quality ACP although quantity is stable: enabled by the implementation of an ACP tool and education programme. Challenges remain in engaging children and young people in advanced planning.
BACKGROUND: Pediatric palliative care programs aim to improve the quality of life of children with severe life-threatening illnesses, and that of their families. Although rehabilitation and physical therapy provides a valuable tool for the control of symptoms, it has been poorly researched to date. Since the family represents such a fundamental support in these cases, it is important to deepen our understanding regarding the value of implementing rehabilitation programs from the parents' perspective.
AIM: The aim of this paper was to explore parents' experiences regarding the implementation of a physical rehabilitation program in pediatric palliative care.
DESIGN: A qualitative methodology was chosen.
SETTING: The unit of pediatric palliative care at the Hospital Niño Jesús (Madrid, Spain).
POPULATION: The inclusion criteria were: a) parents of children, irrespective of their diagnosis, b) integrated within the program of palliative care at the time of study, c) aged between 0-18 years, c) must be receiving Home-Based Rehabilitation Program by the Pediatric Palliative Care team. Fourteen parents were included.
METHODS: Purposeful sampling method was implemented. Data collection consisted of unstructured and semi-structured interviews. A thematic analysis was performed to interpret transcripts. Guidelines for conducting qualitative studies established by the Consolidated Criteria for Reporting Qualitative Research were followed.
RESULTS: Three main themes were identified: a) The meaning of physical rehabilitation to parents, b) Physical rehabilitation as an opportunity for patients to stay in their home environment and c) Home-based physical rehabilitation as part of the families' social environment.
CONCLUSIONS: The main needs of a home physical rehabilitation program are to decrease pain and suffering, together with improving family education and training.
CLINICAL REHABILITATION IMPACT: The experience of rehabilitation programs at home is essential in order to improve both the quality of life and the quality of care of affected children and parents.
OBJECTIVE: To summarize and analyze the impact of specialized pediatric palliative care (SPPC) programs on communication and decision-making for children with life-threatening conditions.
METHODS: Our search strategy covered MEDLINE, PsycINFO, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Web of Science, CINAHL, Scopus, and Embase through September 2018.
RESULTS: We reviewed 13 studies analyzing the impact of SPPC programs on communication and decision-making using a wide range of outcome indicators. Study quality was poor in 58% of included papers. SPPC programs improved communication and decision-making between families and healthcare professionals (HCPs), within and between families, and among HCPs.
CONCLUSION: SPPC programs generally support and improve communication and decision-making for children with life-threatening conditions, their families and associated HCPs. Families referred to an SPPC program had more discussions with HCPs on a broad variety of topics. However, data on communication with children, siblings, and other family members was scarce and of poor quality.
PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS: More research on SPPC program efficacy is needed from the perspective of the ill child, as well as about barriers to end-of-life discussions and the specific aspects of SPPC programs responsible for improving outcomes.
Music is one of the things in my life that has most reliably gotten me into and kept me out of trouble. Having played in bands for decades, I see parallels with the practice of medicine. As a hospitalist and a palliative care pediatrician, I would like to apply lessons from music to consider how general palliative care (provided by all clinicians) and specialty palliative care (provided by board-certified physicians) can work together in harmony. Music (like medicine) thrives through collaboration, benefits from specialized knowledge, and begs to be shared.
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BACKGROUND: Systematic symptom assessment is not a standard of care in children with cancer. Many well-known symptom assessment tools are lengthy or difficult to integrate into a daily pediatric palliative care practice. We created a series of brief and simple questions to be systematically given to children and their caregivers.
OBJECTIVE: The primary objective was to determine the percentage of eligible children and caregivers exposed to the questions that were able to complete the assessment. Secondary objectives included documenting the symptom burden at the time of consultation, evaluating the level of agreement in symptom reporting between children and caregivers, as well as between children/caregivers and the referring medical team.
DESIGN: A series of systematic questions were presented to all caregivers (if present) and children who were seven years of age or older at the time of initial consultation with pediatric palliative care.
RESULTS: One hundred twenty-two consecutive children/caregiver dyads were given the survey. One hundred seven of 108 (99%) eligible caregivers and 83 of 97 (86%) eligible children completed the survey. Lack of appetite (child—72/83, 87%; caregiver—89/107, 83%) and pain (child—71/83, 86%; caregiver—86/107, 80%) were the most commonly reported symptoms. Caregivers reported irritability (p = 0.005) and nervousness (p < 0.001) more frequently than children. Referring medical teams significantly underdiagnosed psychological and other less clinically evident symptoms such as lack of appetite, fatigue, and sleep disturbance (p < 0.001).
CONCLUSIONS: Our series of questions is easy to complete by children and caregivers. Systematic symptom assessment of children with cancer referred to palliative care should become a true standard of care.