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Advance care planning: Challenges and approaches for pediatricians

Heckford, Emma; Beringer, Antonia


Emma Heckford


© 2014 Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. Background: There is increasing recognition of the value of advance care planning for children with life-limiting conditions. It is important that we acknowledge and reflect on the challenges that this work presents in order to optimize practice. Objective: Our aim was to review advance care planning for children with life-threatening or life-limiting conditions (LTLLCs) in our local area.Methods: We conducted a retrospective case note review. Study subjects were from two National Health Service (NHS) Trusts in Bristol in the United Kingdom. Cases were identified from Child Death Overview Panel data. Forty-two sets of case notes were reviewed in relation to 20 children. Measurements included quantitative and qualitative review of advance care planning in relation to standards set by The Association for Children's Palliative Care (ACT). Results: In 25% of cases there was no documented discussion with families about the approach to end of life (EOL). In 25% of cases there was no evidence of an advance care plan, and the content and accessibility of those that did exist was variable. Forty-five percent of families were not offered a choice with regard to location of care (LOC) in the last months of life and 50% were not offered a choice about location of death (LOD). Conclusions: We hope that acknowledgement of some of the challenges, alongside recognition of the clear benefits, of planning will help pediatricians to deliver this important area of care.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Jan 1, 2014
Deposit Date Feb 5, 2015
Journal Journal of Palliative Medicine
Print ISSN 1096-6218
Electronic ISSN 1557-7740
Publisher Mary Ann Liebert
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 17
Issue 9
Pages 1049-1053
Keywords palliative care, child, end of life plan
Public URL
Publisher URL
Contract Date Apr 9, 2016