Parents who experience the death of a child are at high risk for psychopathology. Because a large percentage of pediatric deaths occur in the pediatric intensive care unit each year, a follow-up meeting between bereaved parents and intensivists could provide essential emotional support, although some parents may not attend. The aim of this study was to explore demographic and medical factors that may distinguish between bereaved parents who attend a follow-up meeting with their child’s pediatric intensivist and those who do not. Our analysis revealed that parents of children who died of trauma were less likely to attend a follow-up meeting with an intensivist. It is possible that symptoms of posttraumatic stress play a role in these findings. Enhanced efforts to identify other interventions for this specific subset of bereaved parents may be necessary.
Child loss is the most traumatic loss a parent can experience, increasing their risk of negative outcomes such as complicated grief. Unexpected loss in the unfamiliar environment of the Emergency Department (ED) significantly increases this risk. Despite this knowledge, research on child loss in the context of the ED is scarce. An interpretive description qualitative research study was performed with eight parents (five mothers and three fathers) to examine their experience of unexpectedly losing a child in the pediatric ED. Data collection included interviews, demographic questionnaires, and field notes. Data were analyzed using a constant comparative method and revealed four main themes: “grief as waves,” “being the good parent,” “coping through the waves of grief,” and “the new normal.” Improving understanding around child loss and implementing stronger support for parents, through communication, advocacy, and physical presence while in the ED, could greatly reduce parents’ risk of negative outcomes.
Les soins palliatifs pédiatriques ont été mis en place après de nombreuses réflexions et des constats sur la nécessité d’accompagner différemment les enfants atteints de maladie grave et incurable ainsi que leurs proches. L’équipe mobile de soins palliatifs accompagne les enfants et leur famille dans ce processus particulier et forment les soignants à la démarche palliative.
AIM: This survey investigated the availability of training programs in pediatric palliative care (PPC) for Italian postgraduates specializing in pediatric medicine.
METHODS: Two questionnaires were developed: (i) a questionnaire addressed to the Directors of Italian postgraduate pediatric medicine programs (n = 37); and (ii) a survey to the postgraduate students in pediatric medicine at the University Hospitals of Padua and Udine (n = 127).
RESULTS: 14 directors participated (response rate: 37.8%). In 85.7% of cases (n = 12), lectures on PPC were offered, for a supposed maximum of 90 minutes/year. 116 students responded (response rate: 91%): they stated that, approximately 40 min/year of training on PPC was provided. In total, 37% of responders stated they attended a PPC Service during their training. The majority of responders (68.1%, n = 79) did not feel ready to care for a pediatric patient with life-limiting disease.
CONCLUSIONS: Although PPC is well-recognized as part of a pediatrician's training, it receives poor attention.
When should doctors seek protective custody to override a parent's refusal of potentially lifesaving treatment for their child? The answer to this question seemingly has different answers for different subspecialties of pediatrics. This paper specifically looks at different thresholds for physicians overriding parental refusals of life-sustaining treatment between neonatology, cardiology, and oncology. The threshold for mandating treatment of premature babies seems to be a survival rate of 25-50%. This is not the case when the treatment in question is open heart surgery for a child with congenital heart disease. Most cardiologists would not pursue legal action when parents refuse treatment, unless the anticipated survival rate after surgery is above 90%. In pediatric oncology, there are case reports of physicians requesting and obtaining protective custody for cancer treatment when the reported mortality rates are 40-50%. Such differences might be attributed to differences in care, a reasonable prioritization of quality of life over survival, or the role uncertainty plays on prognoses, especially for the extremely young. Nonetheless, other, non-medical factors may have a significant effect on inconsistencies in care across these pediatric subspecialties and require further examinations.
Primary palliative care improves access to symptom control and quality-of-life care for children and families and can reduce moral distress in clinicians. This article describes the application of a nursing theory framework for an evidence-based practice/quality improvement project that embedded pediatric primary palliative care into a hospital-based setting using unit-specific projects. An evidence-based practice/quality improvement project, guided by the Comfort Theory™, provided primary palliative care education and mentorship to improve knowledge, skills, and attitudes of direct care clinicians. Training consisted of didactic and self-directed learning, mentoring, and completion of unit-based projects to establish meaning and impact best practices and policies. A total of 149 direct care clinicians, comprising 3 cohorts, enrolled in the program. Improvements in interdisciplinary collaboration in care were demonstrated through 21 unit-based projects, the development of triggers for specialty palliative care consults in several high-risk populations, and the development of institutional guidelines for end-of-life care. The Comfort Theory™ guided integration of palliative care for children with serious illness and their families. This project empowered direct care clinicians in caring for patients, providing support to clinical staff, and in developing best practices.
OBJECTIVE: To present the characteristics of pediatric patients with chronic and irreversible diseases submitted to palliative extubation.
METHOD: This is a descriptive analysis of a series of patients admitted to a pediatric public hospital, with chronic and irreversible diseases, permanently dependent on ventilatory support, who were submitted to palliative extubation between April 2014 and May 2019. The following information was collected from the medical records: demographic data, diagnosis, and time and type of mechanical ventilation; date, time, and place of palliative extubation; medications used; symptoms observed; and hospital outcome.
RESULTS: A total of 19 patients with a mean age of 2.2 years were submitted to palliative extubation. 68.4% of the extubations were performed in the ICU; 11 patients (57.9%) died in the hospital. The time between mechanical ventilation withdrawal and in-hospital death ranged from 15 min to five days. Thirteen patients used an orotracheal tube and the others used tracheostomy. The main symptoms were dyspnea and pain, and the main drugs used to control symptoms were opioids and benzodiazepines.
CONCLUSIONS: It was not possible to identify predictors of in-hospital death after ventilatory support withdrawal. Palliative extubation requires specialized care, with the presence and availability of a multidisciplinary team with adequate training in symptom control and palliative care.
Over the past several years, pediatric critical care units increasingly count on the expert advisement of palliative care specialists. Given the limited availability of pediatric palliative care specialists, all palliative care clinicians may be required to care for pediatric patients and their families. Special considerations in caring for these patients include the relative importance of prognosis, involvement of child life, music and pet therapy, incorporation of parents in end-of-life rituals, care for siblings, use of medical technology, and prolonged duration of stay. The following top 10 tips provide recommendations for caring for seriously ill infants, children, adolescents, and the families of these critically ill pediatric patients. They are written by pediatric intensive care providers to address common issues around palliative care in intensive care units.
Doctors are required to notify Child Protective Services (CPS) if parents do not provide appropriate medical care for their children. But criteria for reporting medical neglect are vague. Which treatments properly fall within the realm of shared decision-making in which parents can decide whether to accept doctors' recommendations? Which treatments are so clearly in the child's interest that it would be neglectful to refuse them? When to report medical neglect concerns to CPS may be controversial. It would seem inhumane to allow a child to suffer because of parental refusal to administer proper analgesia. In this ethics rounds, we present a case of an adolescent with chronic pain who is terminally ill. Her parents were not adherent to recommended analgesia regimens. Her palliative care team had to decide whether to report the case to CPS.
The number of children in the UK with life-limiting conditions and the demand for home-based palliative care is increasing. Children's hospices remain a dominant provider of palliative care. This study aimed to determine the approaches taken by children's hospices across the UK in meeting the planned and unplanned health needs of children and their families who receive palliative care at home. In addition, the survey aimed to identify the professional composition of community teams and the number of children and families supported by each service. An internet-based questionnaire survey was sent to all children's hospices in the UK, comprising ten questions exploring the size of the team, geographical areas covered, workforce composition, services offered and approaches to managing unplanned, out of hours care. Responses were received from 14 (26%) of the hospices. A total of 1,618 children and their families were being cared for by these hospices, of whom 825 received care at home. Registered nurses constituted the greatest proportion of staff and were employed by all teams. Care provided at home was broadly split into two categories: planned short breaks and responsive palliative nursing. The latter comprised advance care planning, anticipatory prescribing and active symptom control. Out of hours care was usually offered in the form of telephone support. Models of community-based care are evolving to include nurses practising at specialist and advanced levels, allowing more children with increasingly complex conditions to be cared for at home.
Introduction: For children with cancer, early integration of pediatric palliative care in conjunction with curative treatments is recommended. In Switzerland, pediatric palliative care is mostly provided by an interdisciplinary primary oncology team that is mainly composed of nurses. However, only a small fraction of children receive pediatric palliative care and only a minority of them in a timely manner. The main aim was to identify barriers to the provision of pediatric palliative care in Swiss pediatric oncology.
Method: This qualitative study consisted of five focus groups. In total, 29 pediatric oncology providers participated (13 nurses, 11 physicians, 4 psycho-oncologists, 1 social worker). Data were analyzed employing applied thematic analysis.
Results: Analysis revealed eleven barriers: lack of financial resources, lack of prejob education regarding pediatric palliative care, lack of awareness in politics and policy making, absence of a well-established nationwide bridging care system, insufficient psychosocial and professional supervision for staff, understaffing, inadequate infrastructure of hospitals, asymmetry of factual and emotional knowledge between parents and providers, cultural aspects, irrational parental hopes, and "the unspoken." Discussion: Awareness should be raised for pediatric palliative care (in particular in demarcation from palliative care in adults) among politics and policy makers which could lead to increased financial resources that, in turn, could be used to improve bridging care, hospital's infrastructure, and team support. More flexibility for care determining factors is needed, for example, with respect to convening team meetings, short-termed staffing, and reimbursement at the interface between inpatient and outpatient services.
BACKGROUND: Research is needed to improve care and diminish suffering for children with life-limiting illnesses and their parents. However, there are doubts about whether it is possible to conduct paediatric end of life research safely and ethically, as it may unduly burden or inadvertently harm participants.
AIM: To compare and evaluate responses from participants to the assessments of burdens and benefits that were conducted at two timepoints during a phenomenological study that investigated parents' experiences of having a child with life-limiting cancer participate in a Phase I clinical trial.
DISCUSSION: Parents reported that participating in the study was beneficial and resulted in minimal burden or distress. The assessment of benefits and burdens at the first timepoint appeared sufficient to understand participants' experiences.
CONCLUSION: This study adds to the evidence that research may be safely and effectively conducted with parents of children who are deceased or have life-limiting illnesses. Further research is needed to evaluate the most effective timing of assessments of the burdens and benefits of their participation in research.
IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: It is important when conducting research with people with life-limiting illnesses or their family members to assess the burdens and benefits of their participation, to understand their experiences and assist in its conduct.
OBJECTIVE: The role of aromatherapy in supportive symptom management for pediatric patients receiving palliative care has been underexplored. This pilot study aimed to measure the impact of aromatherapy using validated child-reported nausea, pain, and mood scales 5 minutes and 60 minutes after aromatherapy exposure.
METHODS: The 3 intervention arms included use of a symptom-specific aromatherapy sachet scent involving deep breathing. The parallel default control arm (for those children with medical exclusion criteria to aromatherapy) included use of a visual imagery picture envelope and deep breathing. Symptom burden was sequentially assessed at 5 and 60 minutes using the Baxter Retching Faces scale for nausea, the Wong-Baker FACES scale for pain, and the Children's Anxiety and Pain Scale (CAPS) for anxious mood. Ninety children or adolescents (mean age 9.4 years) at a free-standing children's hospital in the United States were included in each arm (total n = 180).
RESULTS: At 5 minutes, there was a mean improvement of 3/10 (standard deviation [SD] 2.21) on the nausea scale; 2.6/10 (SD 1.83) on the pain scale; and 1.6/5 (SD 0.93) on the mood scale for the aromatherapy cohort (p < 0.0001). Symptom burden remained improved at 60 minutes post-intervention (<0.0001). Visual imagery with deep breathing improved self-reports of symptoms but was not as consistently sustained at 60 minutes.
SIGNIFICANCE OF RESULTS: Aromatherapy represents an implementable supportive care intervention for pediatric patients receiving palliative care consults for symptom burden. The high number of children disqualified from the aromatherapy arm because of pulmonary or allergy indications warrants further attention to outcomes for additional breathing-based integrative modalities.
There is a significant gap in the provision of palliative care for children living with HIV (CLHIV) in Indonesia. While Indonesia has one of the highest rates of HIV infection amongst children in Asia, there is limited availability and access to palliative care services for CLHIV, especially for those living in rural areas. This paper highlights the need to scale up the provision of pediatric palliative care services for CLHIV in the country through the integration of palliative care into existing HIV care. This integration would not only increase the accessibility of palliative care for CLHIV, but also improve the quality of HIV care by addressing and meeting individual needs, enhancing retention in HIV care and improving quality of life amongst CLHIV. An effective integration of palliative care may be achieved by adopting World Health Organization’s Public Health Strategy for Palliative Care, with adaptations made to accommodate the unique geographical and cultural contexts of Indonesia.
Chaque année, en France, 1200 Adolescents et Jeunes adultes
(AJA) entre 15 et 25 ans sont diagnostiqués pour un cancer. Ses
formes les plus fréquentes sont les lymphomes, les sarcomes, les
tumeurs germinales, les leucémies aiguës et les tumeurs du
système nerveux central.
Dans cette classe d'âge, de nombreuses études ont mis en corrélation le risque plus élevé de mauvaise observance des traitements
associés à celui de rechute de la maladie.
En plus des problématiques adolescentes, ils sont à la fois confrontés
à une maladie grave avec risque vital, et à des traitements
prolongés sur plusieurs mois qui vont interférer avec leurs projets
d’études, de travail et leurs relations familiales et sociales. L’adolescent ou le jeune adulte à qui l’on annonce un diagnostic de cancer va connaître, en plus des transformations corporelles liées à la maladie et aux traitements, nombre de bouleversements sur les liens familiaux, amicaux et amoureux, sur la scolarité et la ormation professionnelle, la recherche d'un premier emploi…
La création d’unités ou d’équipes multidisciplinaires AJA avec un
personnel spécifiquement formé, permet de créer un cadre favorable
à une observance thérapeutique adaptée, et un accompagnement médical et humain au plus près des besoins des patients, tout en soutenant leurs projets de vie.
Nous proposons, par cet article, de présenter la prise en charge AJA en oncologie, et plus spécifiquement celle de l’Institut Curie.
Canuck Place Children’s Hospice in Vancouver, Canada, has been hosting a massage therapy practicum within the hospice since 2011. The practicum is delivered by upper-level massage therapy students who are supervised by a registered massage therapist and clinical instructor through West Coast College of Massage Therapy. This study aimed to explore clinicians’ perspectives on the value of providing massage therapy to support children in hospice care, their families, and staff. The research participants (n = 6) comprised Canuck Place clinicians who have experience with the massage therapy practicum. In this descriptive phenomenological inquiry, semistructured interviews and thematic analysis were used. The findings demonstrated that Canuck Place clinicians valued the massage therapy practicum for its practical support in terms of creating access to massage therapy and self-care in the hospice. Massage therapy was also valued for supporting physical wellness (injury prevention/maintenance and symptom management) and psychosocial wellness (supporting dignity, interconnection, intraconnection, and rest/relaxation and providing a source of comfort/nurturing). This study is the first to explore clinicians’ perceptions of massage therapy within a pediatric hospice and contributes to understanding massage therapy’s potential role in the support of children, families, and staff within a hospice setting.
Integration of pediatric palliative care (PPC) into management of children with serious illness and their families is endorsed as the standard of care. Despite this, timely referral to and integration of PPC into the traditionally cure-oriented cardiac ICU (CICU) remains variable. Despite dramatic declines in mortality in pediatric cardiac disease, key challenges confront the CICU community. Given increasing comorbidities, technological dependence, lengthy recurrent hospitalizations, and interventions risking significant morbidity, many patients in the CICU would benefit from PPC involvement across the illness trajectory. Current PPC delivery models have inherent disadvantages, insufficiently address the unique aspects of the CICU setting, place significant burden on subspecialty PPC teams, and fail to use CICU clinician skill sets. We therefore propose a novel conceptual framework for PPC-CICU integration based on literature review and expert interdisciplinary, multi-institutional consensus-building. This model uses interdisciplinary CICU-based champions who receive additional PPC training through courses and subspecialty rotations. PPC champions strengthen CICU PPC provision by (1) leading PPC-specific educational training of CICU staff; (2) liaising between CICU and PPC, improving use of support staff and encouraging earlier subspecialty PPC involvement in complex patients' management; and (3) developing and implementing quality improvement initiatives and CICU-specific PPC protocols. Our PPC-CICU integration model is designed for adaptability within institutional, cultural, financial, and logistic constraints, with potential applications in other pediatric settings, including ICUs. Although the PPC champion framework offers several unique advantages, barriers to implementation are anticipated and additional research is needed to investigate the model's feasibility, acceptability, and efficacy.
BACKGROUND: Few studies have addressed the efficacy of palliative radiotherapy (RT) for pediatric osteosarcoma (OS), a disease generally considered to be radioresistant. We describe symptom relief, local control, and toxicity associated with palliative RT among children with OS.
PROCEDURE: Patients diagnosed with OS at age 18 and under and treated with RT for palliation of symptomatic metastases or local recurrence at the primary site from 1997 to 2017 were included. We retrospectively reviewed details of RT, symptom improvement, local control, survival, and toxicity.
RESULTS: Thirty-two courses of palliative RT were given to 20 patients with symptomatic metastatic and/or locally recurrent primary disease. The median equivalent dose in 2 Gy fractions (EQD2) was 40.0 Gy (range, 20.0-60.4). The median number of fractions per course was 15 (range, 5-39). Symptom improvement occurred in 24 (75%) courses of RT at a median time of 15.5 days (range, 3-43). In nine courses (37.5%), symptoms recurred after a median duration of symptom relief of 140 days (range, 1-882). Higher EQD2 correlated with longer duration of response (r = 0.39, P = 0.0003). Imaging revealed local failure in 3 of 14 courses followed with surveillance imaging studies (21.4%). The median time to progression was 12.9 months (range, 4.4-21.8). The median follow-up time following the first course of palliative RT was 17.5 months (range, 1.74-102.24), and median time to overall survival was 19.4 months. Toxicity was mild, with grade 2 toxicity occurring in one course (3.1%).
CONCLUSIONS: RT is an effective method of symptom palliation for patients with recurrent or metastatic OS, with higher delivered dose correlating with longer symptom relief and with little associated toxicity.
BACKGROUND: Palliative transport is transport home of patients requiring critical care transport support with expectation of imminent death. Many parents prefer their child's death at home; evidence suggests death in the preferred location improves bereavement outcomes. Little is known about the clinical and demographic diversity of patients receiving palliative transport or the perspectives of participating staff.
AIM: The objectives of the present study were to (1) characterize demographic and clinical factors involved in palliative transport, (2) identify challenges encountered, and and (3) ascertain staff perspectives.
DESIGN: Ten-year retrospective chart review and cross-sectional staff survey using study-specific questionnaire.
SETTING/PARTICIPANTS: Twenty-three patients had palliative transport from a tertiary pediatric hospital from 2004 to 2013, of which 12 met inclusion criteria. Survey responses from 22 participating staff were received.
RESULTS: The cohort of 12 patients was 58% female, with a mean (range) age of 5.5 (0.01–22) years; racial composition was not significantly different than the palliative care clinical census over the same time period. Distances under 30 miles accounted for 50% of palliative transports. The majority of patients (75%) died within 2 days of palliative transport. Six unanticipated events are described. Staff reported palliative transport as a positive experience, regarding it as an important job component. However, 63% were dissatisfied or undecided about the plan should the patient die enroute, and 48% experienced some level of dissatisfaction with communication.
CONCLUSION: Palliative transport is a feasible option for some patients. Staff experienced palliative transport as valuable, although process concerns were noted. This study underscores the importance of preparedness, training, and education for palliative transports.