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J Soc Work End Life Palliat Care. 2014;10(2):170-85. doi: 10.1080/15524256.2014.906375.

Poverty and pediatric palliative care: what can we do?

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a Department of Social Work , The Hospital for Sick Children , Toronto , Canada.


It has been recognized that families of children with life-limiting health conditions struggle with significant financial demands, yet may not have awareness of resources available to them. Additionally, health care providers may not be aware of the socioeconomic needs of families they care for. This article describes a mixed-methods study examining the content validity and utility for health care providers of a poverty screening tool and companion resource guide for the pediatric palliative care population. The study found high relevance and validity of the tool. Significant barriers to implementing the screening tool in clinical practice were described by participants, including: concerns regarding time required, roles and responsibilities, and discomfort in asking about income. Implications for practice and suggestions for improving the tool are discussed. Screening and attention to the social determinants of health lie within the scope of practice of all health care providers. Social workers can play a leadership role in this work.


Child Poverty Tool and Resource Guide; content validity; life-limiting illness; pediatric palliative care; qualitative methods; social determinants of health

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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