CONTEXT: Evidence from prior public health emergencies demonstrates palliative care's importance to manage symptoms, make advance care plans, and improve end-of-life outcomes.
OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the preparedness and capacity of palliative care services in the Middle-East and North Africa region to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
METHODS: A cross-sectional online survey was undertaken, with items addressing the WHO International Health Regulations. Non-probabilistic sampling was used, and descriptive analyses were conducted.
RESULTS: Responses from 43 services in 12 countries were analysed. Half of respondents were doctors (53%), and services were predominantly hospital-based (84%). All but one services had modified at least one procedure to respond to COVID-19. Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) policies were modified by a third (30%) and unavailable for a fifth (23%). While handwashing facilities at points of entry were available (98%), a third had concerns over accessing disinfectant products (37%), soap (35%), or running water (33%). The majority had capacity to use technology to provide remote care (86%) and contact lists of patients and staff (93%), though only two-fifths had relatives' details (37%). Respondents reported high staff anxiety about becoming infected themselves (median score 8 on 1-10 scale), but only half of services had a stress management procedure (53%). Three-fifths had plans to support triaging COVID-19 patients (60%) and protocols to share (58%).
CONCLUSION: Participating services have prepared to respond to COVID-19, but their capacity to respond may be limited by lack of staff support and resources. We propose recommendations to improve service preparedness and relieve unnecessary suffering.
New public health approaches to palliative care highlight the role of communities in care, yet there is little evidence of studies on community-led initiatives in the palliative care context. Therefore, the aim of this study, which took place in Auckland, New Zealand, was to (1) explore Pacific family carers’ views on what they need to feel supported as they care for older family members at the end of life and (2) to devise a resource that reflects their views that may be used to raise community awareness about these needs. This was achieved using a Participatory Action Research (PAR) framework in which a focus group was carried out and a work group formed to implement the focus group’s recommendations that were informed by a thematic analysis of the focus group data. The analysis resulted in the foregrounding of four themes, with the focus of this paper being on the 4th theme, the centrality of spirituality for a group of Pacific caregivers. This emphasis was chosen due to it being an underexplored topic in the palliative care literature. Co-creating resources based on research with community members allows for the development of tailored approaches of significance to that community, in this instance, a music video.
Objectives: Determine feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary effects of the Palliative Care Social Worker-led ALIGN (Assessing & Listening to Individual Goals and Needs) intervention in older persons admitted to Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) and their caregivers.
Design: A pilot pragmatic randomized stepped wedge design of ALIGN versus usual care in three SNFs.
Setting and Participants: One hundred and twenty older adults and caregivers (optional) with advanced medical illnesses.
Measures: Primary outcomes were feasibility and acceptability. We collected exploratory patient-/caregiver-centered outcomes at baseline and three months and conducted a medical record review at six months to assess documentation of Advance Directives (AD). We also collected exploratory health care utilization data, including hospitalizations, mortality, and hospice utilization.
Results: Of 179 patients approached, 120 enrolled (60 ALIGN patients with 15 caregivers and 60 usual care patients and 21 caregivers). Four intervention patients refused ALIGN visits, 8 patients died or discharged before initial visit, and 48 intervention patients received ALIGN visits, with [about] 80% having caregivers participating in visits, regardless of caregiver study enrollment. Quantitative exploratory outcomes were not powered to detect a difference between groups. We found 91% of ALIGN patients had a completed AD in medical record compared to 39.6% of usual care patients (p < 0.001). Qualitative feedback from participants and SNF staff supported high acceptability and satisfaction with ALIGN.
Conclusion and Clinical Implications: A pragmatic trial of the ALIGN intervention is feasible and preliminary effects suggest ALIGN is effective in increasing AD documentation. Further research is warranted to understand effects on caregivers and health care utilization. The current model for SNF does not address the palliative care needs of patients. ALIGN has potential to be an effective, scalable, acceptable, and reproducible intervention to improve certain palliative care outcomes within subacute settings.
Objectives: People with intellectual disabilities are living longer, and many require palliative care. There is a lack of evidence regarding information needs which may exist for their family caregivers. This study aimed to determine the informational needs of family caregivers of people with intellectual disabilities who require palliative care.
Methods: A qualitative, exploratory design was underpinned by the Transactional Model of Stress and Coping and the Transformative Paradigm. The study involved five Health and Social Care (HSC) Trusts and two Hospices in one region of the United Kingdom. Family caregivers (n = 10) participated in individual interviews. HSC professionals’ (n = 28) perceptions of informational needs were explored within focus groups (n = 6).
Results: Family caregivers reported information needs chiefly concerning the disease, financial entitlements, and practical support which could change over the disease trajectory. Findings evidence the expertise of long-term family caregivers, prior to the end of life. Palliative care and intellectual disability teams acknowledged their role to work in partnership and facilitate access to information. Recommendations were mapped onto a co-designed logic model.
Significance of results: New insights into the specific informational needs of this family caregiving population. A co-designed logic model presents these needs and how they may be addressed. Central co-ordinators have been advocated for these caregivers. This model could have international applicability for similar family carers, supporting people with other disabilities or cognitive impairment, and should be further explored.
BACKGROUND: The Carer Support Needs Assessment Tool intervention (CSNAT-I) has been shown to improve end-of-life care support for informal caregivers. This study investigated the impact of the CSNAT-I on caregivers of patients recently enrolled in specialised palliative care (SPC) at home in Denmark.
METHODS: A stepped-wedge cluster randomised controlled trial with nine clusters (ie, SPC teams). Outcome measures were collected using caregiver questionnaires at baseline (T0) and 2-week (T1) and 4-week (T2) follow-up.
RESULTS: A total of 437 caregivers were enrolled (control group, n=255; intervention group, n=182). No intervention effect was found on the primary outcome, caregiver strain at T1 (p=0.1865). However, positive effects were found at T1 and T2 on attention to caregivers' well-being (p<0.0001), quality of information and communication (p<0.0001), amount of information (T1: p=0.0002; T2: p<0.0001), involvement (T1: p=0.0045; T2: p<0.0001), talking about greatest burdens (p<0.0001) and assistance in managing greatest burdens (p<0.0001). The effect sizes of these differences were medium or large and seemed to increase from T1 to T2. At T1, positive effects were found on distress (p=0.0178) and home care responsibility (p=0.0024). No effect was found on the remaining outcomes.
CONCLUSION: Although no effect was found on caregiver strain, the CSNAT-I showed positive effects on caregiver distress, home care responsibility and key outcomes regarding caregivers' experience of the interaction with healthcare professionals.
TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: NCT03466580.
Home support for patients receiving in-home palliative and end-of-life care (PELC) is greatly dependent on the daily presence of caregivers and their involvement in care delivery. However, the needs of caregivers throughout the care trajectory of a loved one receiving in-home PELC are still relatively unknown.
Objectives and methodology: This descriptive qualitative study focuses on the role of caregivers who have cared for a person receiving in-home PELC with the goal of describing their needs throughout the care trajectory. As part of this process, 20 caregivers took part in semi-directed interviews.
Results and discussion: This study sheds light on the multiple needs of caregivers of loved ones receiving in-home PELC. These informational, emotional, and psychosocial needs show that caregivers experience changes in their relationship with their loved one. Spiritual needs were expressed through the meaning ascribed to the home support experience. And the practical needs expressed by participants highlight the importance of round-the-clock access to PELC services and the essential importance of nursing support.
Conclusion: The needs of caregivers of loved ones receiving in-home PELC are not being met to a satisfactory degree. It is important to consider these needs in the care trajectory, alongside the needs of the patients themselves, in order to improve the support experience leading up to the bereavement period.
Background: Advance care planning (ACP) is a process by which patients reflect upon their goals, values and beliefs to allow them to make decisions about their future medical treatment that align with their goals and values, improving patient-centered care. Despite this, ACP is underutilized and is reported as one of the most difficult processes of oncology. We sought to: 1) explore patients’ and families’ understanding, experience and reflections on ACP, as well as what they need from their physicians during the process; 2) explore physicians’ views of ACP, including their experiences with initiating ACP and views on ACP training.
Methods: This was a qualitative descriptive study in Nova Scotia, Canada with oncologists, advanced cancer out-patients and their family members. Semi-structured interviews with advanced cancer out-patients and their family members (n = 4 patients, 4 family members) and oncologists (n = 10) were conducted; each participant was recruited separately. Data were analyzed using constant comparative analysis, which entailed coding, categorizing, and identifying themes recurrent across the datasets.
Results: Themes were identified from the patient / family and oncologist groups, four and five respectively. Themes from patients / families included: 1) positive attitudes towards ACP; 2) healthcare professionals (HCPs) lack an understanding of patients’ and families’ informational needs during the ACP process; 3) limited access to services and supports; and 4) poor communication between HCPs. Themes from oncologists included: 1) initiation of ACP discussions; 2) navigating patient-family dynamics; 3) limited formal training in ACP; 4) ACP requires a team approach; and 5) lack of coordinated systems hinders ACP.
Conclusions: Stakeholders believe ACP for advanced cancer patients is important. Patients and families desire earlier and more in-depth discussion of ACP, additional services and supports, and improved communication between their HCPs. In the absence of formal training or guidance, oncologists have used clinical acumen to initiate ACP and a collaborative healthcare team approach.
BACKGROUND: Caring at end-of-life is associated with financial burden, economic disadvantage, and psychosocial sequelae. Health and social welfare systems play a significant role in coordinating practical resources and support in this context. However, little is known about social policy and interactions with public institutions that shape experiences of informal carers with social welfare needs at end-of-life.
AIM: To explore ways in which palliative care and welfare sector workers perceive and approach experiences and needs of the carers of people with life-limiting illnesses who receive government income support or housing assistance, in an area of recognised socioeconomic disadvantage.
DESIGN: An interpretive descriptive study employed in-depth, qualitative interviews to explore participants' reflections on working with carers of someone with a life-limiting illness. Data were analysed using the framework approach.
SETTING/PARTICIPANTS: Twenty-one workers employed within three public services in Western Sydney were recruited.
RESULTS: Workers articulated understandings of welfare policy and its consequences for carers at end-of-life, including precariousness in relation to financial and housing circumstances. Identified resources and barriers to the navigation of social welfare needs by carers were categorised as personal, interpersonal and structural.
CONCLUSIONS: Caring at end-of-life while navigating welfare needs was seen to be associated with precariousness by participants, particularly for carers positioned in vulnerable social locations. Findings highlighted experiences of burdensome system navigation, inconsistent processes and inequity. Further exploration of structural determinants of experience is needed, including aspects of palliative care and welfare practice and investment in inter-agency infrastructure for supporting carers at end-of-life.
Limited evidence suggests carers of people with pulmonary fibrosis (PF) have a variety of information and support needs. This pilot focus group discussion, carried out in 2019, aimed to explore the needs of carers of people with pulmonary fibrosis and evaluate the impact of a UK hospice PF carers’ support group. Analysis revealed: (1) loneliness and connection, (2) negotiating with and motivating their loved-ones, and (3) the importance of the best environment for support as key themes. Participants reported a need for both practical and emotional support with the carers’ own health sometimes neglected. This evaluation concluded that peer support specifically with other PF carers was hugely valuable to the participants, as was the hospice environment itself. It is recommended that PF-specific carer support is considered when designing services for people with pulmonary fibrosis.
BACKGROUND: Provision of paediatric palliative care is complex and optimally covers meeting the individual needs of a heterogenous population of children and their parent caregivers throughout a life-limiting illness. It is unclear whether existing approaches comprehensively address parent caregivers' needs.
AIM: To examine support needs of parents caring for children with life limiting illnesses and identify specific approaches used to identify and address needs.
DESIGN: A scoping review.
DATA SOURCES: MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsycINFO, CINAHL and ProQuest Central, were searched for peer reviewed English language full text research published from 2008 to 2019. Study quality appraisal was undertaken. Fourteen quantitative, 18 qualitative and 12 mixed methods studies were synthesised and themed using summative content analysis and mapped to the Parent Supportive Care Needs Framework (PSCNF).
RESULTS: Themes were communication, choice, information, practical, social, psychological, emotional and physical. Communication and choice were central and additional to domains of the PSCNF. Unmet were needs for supporting siblings, for respite care, out of hours, psychological, home and educational support. Six articles reported using instruments to identify parent carer support needs.
CONCLUSION: Support needs of parent caregivers of children with life limiting illnesses are substantial and heterogenous. While studies report evidence of burden and distress in parent caregivers, this rarely translates into improvements in practice through the development of interventions. A systematic and regular assessment of individual parent caregiver support needs is required by using instruments appropriate to use in clinical practice to move the focus to palliative care interventions and improved services for parents.
BACKGROUND: The main goal of pediatric palliative care (PPC) is to improve or maintain the best possible quality of life (QoL) for the child and their family. PPC can be provided in community health centres, within the specialist health care service and/or in the child's home. Home is often the preferred place for families, and recommendations state that, whenever possible, the family home should be the centre of care for the child. The aim of this study is to systematically review the experiences and needs of families with children receiving palliative care at home.
METHODS: We conducted a systematic review and searched the peer-reviewed databases CINAHL, Embase, PsycInfo and MEDLINE for articles published between January 2000 and October 2019. We included 23 studies emphasising the experience of family members when their child (0-18 years) received palliative care at home. We used a thematic analysis to identify relevant themes in the literature, and synthesised the findings from the different studies.
RESULTS: The review represents the experiences of the families of almost 300 children with life-limiting (LL) and life-threatening (LT) conditions receiving palliative care at home. In general, the children's mothers are interviewed, and seldom the sick children themselves or their siblings. Most families preferred staying at home since it made it easier to maintain a normal family life, was less stressful for the sick child, and meant that siblings could still attend school and be with friends. Families experienced a range of challenges due to the coordination of care, including a lack of support and adequately skilled staff with appropriate experience. Respite care was needed in order to cope with everyday life. Some studies were not specific concerning the place of care, and some relevant papers may have been omitted.
CONCLUSIONS: Families receiving PPC need organised, individualised support from a skilled PPC team. Respite care is necessary in order to manage a demanding home-care situation and parents need support for siblings. Privacy to be a family is a need, and many families need financial support. Future studies should focus on PPC at home in the perspectives of sick children and their siblings.
BACKGROUND: Euthanasia has been regulated by law under strict conditions in the Netherlands since 2002. Since then the number of euthanasia cases has constantly increased, and increased exponentially for patients with dementia (PWD). The number of euthanasia requests by such patients is even higher. Recently, an interview study showed that physicians who are confronted with a PWD's euthanasia request experience problems with communication, pressure from relatives, patients, and society, workload, interpretation of the law, and ethical considerations. Moreover, if honoured, the physician and patient may interpret the right moment for euthanasia differently.
AIM: To identify ways of supporting GPs confronted with a PWD's euthanasia request.
DESIGN AND SETTING: Two expert nominal group meetings were organised with Dutch care physicians for older people, GPs, legal experts, a healthcare chaplain, a palliative care consultant, and a psychologist.
METHOD: A total of 15 experts participated in the meetings. Both meetings were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim, and analysed using thematic analysis.
RESULTS: Four themes emerged from the meetings: support provided by healthcare professionals, influencing public opinion, educational activities, and managing time and work pressure. The need for support was considered highest for GPs for all of these themes.
CONCLUSION: Consensus was reached with the help of experts on support needs for GPs confronted with euthanasia requests from PWD. A concise and clear explanation of the law is strongly desired. Changing public opinion seems the most challenging and a long-term aim. Communication training for finding the right balance between the physician's professional responsibility and the patient's autonomy should be made available, as a short-term aim.
Background: Family caregiving is common globally, but when a family member needs palliative and end-of-life care, this requires knowledge and expertise in dealing with symptoms, medication, and treatment side effects. Caring for a family member with advanced prostate cancer in the home presents practical and emotional challenges, especially in resource-poor contexts, where there are increasing palliative cases without adequate palliative care institutions.
Aim: The study explored palliative and end-of-life care experiences of family caregivers and patients living at home in a resource-poor context in Ghana.
Design: This is a qualitative study using thematic analysis of face-to-face interviews at two-time points.
Participants: Men living with advanced prostate cancer (n = 23), family caregivers (n = 23), healthcare professionals (n = 12).
Findings: Men with advanced prostate cancer face complex issues, including lack of access to professional care and a lack of resources for homecare. Family caregivers do not have easy access to professional support; they often have limited knowledge of disease progression. Patients have inadequate access to medication and other practical resources for homecare. Caregivers may be overburdened and perform the role of the patient’s ‘doctor’ at home-assessing patient’s symptoms, administering drugs, and providing hands-on care.
Conclusion: Home-based care is promoted as an ideal and cost-effective model of care, particularly in Westernised palliative care models. However, in resource-poor contexts, there are significant challenges associated with the implementation of this model. This study revealed the scale of challenges family caregivers, who lack basic training on aspects of caring, face in providing home care unsupported by healthcare professionals.
Adequate interprofessional collaboration is essential to provide high quality palliative dementia care across different settings. Within interprofessional collaboration, nurses are the frontline healthcare professionals (HCPs), who interact closely with people with dementia, their loved ones, and other HCPs. A survey was conducted to explore the needs of nurses regarding interprofessional collaboration in home care (HC) organisations, nursing homes (NHs) and during NH admissions. The survey identified the perceived quality of and preferred needs regarding interprofessional collaboration. In total, 384 participants (53.9% home care nurses) completed the survey. The most frequently reported collaboration needs in HC organisations and NH were optimal communication content e.g. information transfer and short communication lines (being able to easily contact other disciplines), and coordination e.g. one contact person, and clear task division and responsibilities). During NH admissions, it was important to create transparency about agreements concerning end-of-life wishes, optimize nurse-to-nurse handover during NH admissions (through performing visits prior to admissions, and receiving practical information on how to guide relatives), and improve coordination (e.g. one contact person). In conclusion, the key collaboration needs were organising central coordination, establishing optimal communication, and creating transparency on end-of-life care agreements.
CONTEXT: There is rapidly increasing need for palliative care in Greater China due to rapidly aging populations.
OBJECTIVES: This study aimed to systematically review and appraise evidence for palliative care needs, models of care, interventions, and outcomes in Greater China.
METHODS: Four databases (MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, PsycINFO) were searched, with hand searching of local journals and databases. Narrative synthesis was applied to the qualitative and quantitative evidence.
RESULTS: Nineteen qualitative studies and 47 quantitative studies were retained. With respect to care needs, nine themes were synthesised: pain control, reduced aggressive end-of-life care, truth telling, physical, emotional and spiritual support, and achieving preferred place of care/death. Informal caregivers expressed their needs for education and burden reduction. Healthcare professionals called for training and national policy support. Twenty-four studies evaluated interventions, mostly among advanced cancer patients. Positive effects were suggested for improvements in quality of life, pain, anxiety and depression, readmission rate, and costs. Models of care evaluated were mostly specialist palliative care delivered in various settings (hospitals, residential care and home). Outcome measures used were grouped into six categories of construct: quality of life, pain, physical assessment, psycho-spiritual assessment, quality of care, and implementation assessment. Limited rigorous randomised controlled trials is available to document intervention outcomes, and some problems (such as high attrition rates) reduced the strength of the evidence.
CONCLUSION: Palliative care services within Greater China should pay more attention to management of non-malignant disease, and to integration into primary services. Policy support is key to establishing culturally appropriate person-centred services.
BACKGROUND: Although Motor Neurone Disease (MND) caregivers are most challenged physically and psychologically, there is a paucity of population-based research to investigate the impact of bereavement, unmet needs, range of supports, and their helpfulness as perceived by bereaved MND caregivers.
Methods: An anonymous national population-based cross-sectional postal and online survey of bereavement experiences of family caregivers who lost a relative/friend to MND in 2016, 2017, and 2018. Recruitment was through all MND Associations in Australia.
Results: 393 valid responses were received (31% response rate). Bereaved caregiver deterioration in physical (31%) and mental health (42%) were common. Approximately 40% did not feel their support needs were met. Perceived insufficiency of support was higher for caregivers at high bereavement risk (63%) and was associated with a significant worsening of their mental and physical health. The majority accessed support from family and friends followed by MND Associations, GPs, and funeral providers. Informal supports were reported to be the most helpful. Sources of professional help were the least used and they were perceived to be the least helpful.
Conclusions: This study highlights the need for a new and enhanced approach to MND bereavement care involving a caregiver risk and needs assessment as a basis for a tailored "goodness of fit" support plan. This approach requires continuity of care, more resources, formal plans, and enhanced training for professionals, as well as optimizing community capacity. MND Associations are well-positioned to support affected families before and after bereavement but may require additional training and resources to fulfill this role.
Aims: To explore the palliative care experiences of forced migrant children, families, and healthcare professionals (HCPs) highlighting successes, challenges, and associated practice implications.
Design: Systematic literature review.
Data Sources: The following search engines were searched from 2008 - 2018: Allied and Complementary Medicine Database, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health, MEDLINE, Embase, ProQuest, Scopus, Psycinfo, and Web of Science. Extensive reference and citation checking were also conducted.
Review Methods: Systematic review followed PRISMA guidelines with prepared PROSPERO registered protocol #CRD42019129200. English language qualitative, quantitative, or mixed methods studies were eligible for inclusion. Study quality was appraised using the Mixed Methods Appraisal Tool (MMAT).
Results: Eighteen studies (reported in 20 articles) met the final inclusion criteria. Most focused on challenges to care provision. Thematic analysis following methods proposed by Braun and Clarke was undertaken. Five themes were identified: (a) divergence of beliefs and expectations; (b) communication; (c) navigating healthcare systems; (d) burdens and coping strategies; and (e) training and knowledge. A compassionate, collaborative approach with mutual respect crossed themes and was linked to high-quality care.
Conclusion: Forced migrant families have multiple needs including physical and emotional support and help in navigating complex systems. Professional interpreters can ease communication barriers when resourced appropriately. Individualized care is crucial to addressing the intricate mosaic of culture such families present. A cultural sensitivity/insensitivity framework is presented that may help guide future interactions and priorities for those working in children's palliative care.
Impact: This systematic review explored the international experiences of palliative care for forced migrant families. The findings highlight the plight of families who experience multiple traumas and increased levels of grief and loss through their migration experiences and when caring for a child with a life-limiting condition. This research has potential to have an impact on professionals working with culturally diverse families in all palliative care settings.
Background: COVID-19 has directly and indirectly caused high mortality worldwide.
Aim: To explore patterns of mortality during the COVID-19 pandemic and implications for palliative care, service planning and research.
Design: Descriptive analysis and population-based modelling of routine data.
Participants and setting: All deaths registered in England and Wales between 7 March and 15 May 2020. We described the following mortality categories by age, gender and place of death: (1) baseline deaths (deaths that would typically occur in a given period); (2) COVID-19 deaths and (3) additional deaths not directly attributed to COVID-19. We estimated the proportion of people who died from COVID-19 who might have been in their last year of life in the absence of the pandemic using simple modelling with explicit assumptions.
Results: During the first 10 weeks of the pandemic, there were 101,614 baseline deaths, 41,105 COVID-19 deaths and 14,520 additional deaths. Deaths in care homes increased by 220%, while home and hospital deaths increased by 77% and 90%, respectively. Hospice deaths fell by 20%. Additional deaths were among older people (86% aged >= 75 years), and most occurred in care homes (56%) and at home (43%). We estimate that 22% (13%–31%) of COVID-19 deaths occurred among people who might have been in their last year of life in the absence of the pandemic.
Conclusion: The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a surge in palliative care needs. Health and social care systems must ensure availability of palliative care to support people with severe COVID-19, particularly in care homes.
Purpose: The purpose of the study is to capture goals expressed by older adults with functional limitations and their caregivers.
Methods: Through focus groups and interviews, 76 older adults with =1 activity of daily living limitation and 28 family/friend caregivers were asked about what mattered most to them and their goals for care. Transcripts were coded using an existing taxonomy. Goals that did not fit the taxonomy were assigned new codes.
Results: We identified more than 50 goals in eight domains. Domains included (a) Medical Care; (b) Quality of Life: Physical; (c) Quality of Life: Social and Emotional; (d) Access to Services and Supports; (e) Caregiver Needs and Concerns; (f) End of Life; (g) Independence; and (h) Acceptable Housing.
Conclusion: While there is overlap between identified goals and the existing taxonomy, new goals emerged. The goal domains identified could serve as a framework to improve and measure the quality of goal-oriented care for older adults with complex needs.
BACKGROUND: Mothers and fathers are severely challenged when providing care for their terminally ill child at end of life. Caregiving needs have been studied predominantly in mothers. Differences in caregiving needs between mothers and fathers during their child's end of life have not, however, been explored so far. This knowledge is of importance to best meet individual parental needs in paediatric end-of-life care.
METHODS: Secondary analysis of a quantitative survey on parental needs during their child's last 4 weeks of life, collected in the Swiss multicentre "Paediatric End-of-Life Care Needs" (PELICAN) study. Caregiving needs of mothers and fathers (parental dyad) who had lost a child due to a cardiological, neurological or oncological disease or during the neonatal period in the years 2011-2012 were retrospectively assessed using a questionnaire representing six evidence-based quality domains of paediatric palliative and end-of-life care.
RESULTS: Seventy-eight parental dyads were included in this analysis. Differences between mothers and fathers were mostly found around needs to be supported as a family. In all, 28 out of 34 needs-related questionnaire items were scored higher by mothers than by fathers, indicating higher importance for that need to be met. The results indicate that these differences might relate to different caregiving roles and gender-specific coping strategies.
CONCLUSIONS: To best meet parental needs in paediatric end-of-life care, particular attention should be paid to both mothers and fathers and their specific caregiving roles, as differences in these roles might influence their needs in this exceptional situation. Therefore, healthcare professionals should identify how parental dyads mutually navigate care for their sick child to best meet their needs in support. Additionally, mothers and fathers should be supported in their individual coping strategies.