Study Reviews Inpatient Pediatric Palliative Care Consult Requests and Recommendations

NEW YORK, June 7, 2022 – A recent study examined roughly 500 patient encounters in order to specifically compare inpatient pediatric palliative care (PPC) requests. The article published in the Journal of Pediatric Health Care investigated recommendations from inpatient PPC consults to figure out whether they differ by patient location.

The World Health Organization defines PPC as the comprehensive care of a child facing a life-threatening illness. This includes, but is not limited to, caring for the child’s body, mind and spirit while also supporting the patient family. Leading medical professionals recommend that PPC be introduced at the time of diagnosis and continued throughout treatment.

Through the course of this study, there was the goal of developing targeted palliative care education and procedures to share with primary providers to fill a gap of limited palliative care resources. By focusing solely on inpatient PPC consult requests and recommendations, there was the chance to determine differences that can be attributed to patient characteristics and needs.

There are a wide array of patient needs with various inpatient ward groups consulting with PPC teams. These consults are often requested by primary teams who require the assistance of a PPC team in the care of a patient. This study examined inpatient PPC consults on patients aged from 0 to 18. Study data was collected to investigate different variables such as date of birth and admission, sex, race, ethnicity, insurance information and other complex matters. The data collected was used to compare variables to create a bigger picture of the encounters reviewed in the study.

It was found that the median age of patients was one year old, while 53.1% were male. 70.9% of patients were white, and more than 80% had public insurance. Roughly 78% of patients have multiple complex chronic conditions (CCC) such as technology dependence, cardiovascular conditions, neurological conditions or other CCCs. From this information, it was gathered that consult requests happened most in situations of life-threatening illnesses. Often, spiritual or social work care was also recommended at this time. The study demonstrates the complex nature of PPC consults.

This study found a wide array of differences in PPC requests and recommendations. Differences such as the location of a patient, patient type, provider experience, training and clinical setting issues. These factors played into each individual’s experience but can provide a greater understanding of PPC to inform future providers and begin to build educational content on this matter. It was also found that PPC teams could start to target locations and treatment strategies to improve patient care and quality of life. The research from this study can inform future quality improvement efforts and educate more health care providers about pediatric palliative care practices.

The article, “Inpatient Pediatric Palliative Care Consult Requests and Recommendations,” was published in the May/June edition of the Journal of Pediatric Health Care and can be accessed here.

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The National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (NAPNAP) is the nation’s only professional association for pediatric-focused advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) dedicated to improving the quality of health care for infants, children, adolescents and young adults. Representing more than 8,000 health care practitioners with 18 special interest groups and 53 chapters, NAPNAP has been advocating for children’s health since 1973 and was the first APRN society in the U.S. Our mission is to empower pediatric-focused advanced practice registered nurses and key partners to optimize child and family health. NAPNAP.org

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