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Paediatr Child Health. 2015 Apr;20(3):145-7.

Quality indicators for paediatric palliative care.

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Département de pédiatrie, Faculté de médecine et des sciences de la santé, Université de Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, Quebec.

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in English, French


To apply quality indicators for paediatric palliative care and evaluate performance in one service provision area.


After institutional review board approval, medical records were abstracted for well-defined and measurable quality indicators for children with chronic complex conditions (CCCs) between January 2006 and December 2011 (n=50) at a university medical centre.


Of the 50 children with a CCC (mean age 64 months, 48% female), 39 (78%) died in hospital, 11 (22%) died at home and 13 (26%) were <1 month of age. In the final month of their life, 10 patients (20%) required an unplanned visit to the emergency department and seven (14%) were admitted. Only four patients (8%) were admitted for >14 days in their final month of life. Goals of care were addressed in a timely manner 60% of the time. An invasive procedure was performed in the final month of life in 27 (44%) patients. Bereavement follow-up was offered to 25 (50%) families. A palliative care consultant was involved with 17 (34%) patients. Palliative care was associated with less frequent invasive procedures in the final month of life and more frequent documentation of the preferred place of death.


Performance on these particular quality indicators was unsatisfactory across a diverse group of children with CCCs, indicating important opportunities for improvement. Methods used to improve the quality of other aspects of paediatric care, including emphasis on efficient work systems, practical tools and interdisciplinary teamwork, should be used for ensuring delivery of high-quality palliative care.


Child; Chronic complex condition; Paediatric palliative care; Quality indicators

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