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Indian J Palliat Care. 2019 Oct-Dec;25(4):550-555. doi: 10.4103/IJPC.IJPC_60_19.

End-of-Life Milieu of Critically Sick Children Admitted to a Pediatric Hospital: A Comparative Study of Survivors versus Nonsurvivors.

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1
Advanced Pediatrics Center, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, India.

Abstract

Objective:

The aim of this study was to describe end-of-life (EOL) milieu among caregivers of children who died in the hospital and to compare their psychosocial, spiritual, and financial concerns with caregivers of children who survived.

Materials and Methods:

Sixty caregivers of children (30 survivors and 30 nonsurvivors), admitted in the pediatric intensive care unit and general pediatric unit, were recruited over a period of 1 year. Mixed qualitative methods were used to collect information from parents on EOL care perspectives.

Results:

Demographic, disease, and treatment-related characteristics were not significantly different between nonsurvivor and survivor groups. The caregivers of nonsurvivors versus survivors showed no significant differences as regards optimal care (76.67% vs. 56.67%), social support (76.6% vs. 66.67%), and frequent recitation of scriptures (30.77% vs. 45.83%). Mean medical expenditure among children receiving EOL care was Rs. 40,883 (range: Rs. 800-5 lakhs). Regression results revealed that for every 1 day of increase in hospital stay, cost of hospitalization for dying children increased by Rs. 3000 (P = 0.0001). Medical insurance was reported by only minority of the cases (5%). Several themes emerged in the focus group discussions with care providers which highlighted the importance of communication and need for emotional, social, and financial support. EOL decision was taken in only two of the nonsurviving children.

Conclusions:

The study offers useful insight about social, financial, and religious "end-of-life" needs among terminally sick children and thereby sensitizes the health-care providers to optimize their care at this niche period.

KEYWORDS:

End-of-life care; financial; psychosocial needs; religious; sick children

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