Palliative Care Needs Assessment for Pediatric Complex Care Providers



      The purpose of this article is to investigate challenges that complex care programs face in caring for children with medical complexity (CMC), as well as to explore whether identified challenges could be met through collaboration with pediatric palliative care or additional training for complex care teams.


      Medical providers who self-identified as providing clinical care to children with medical complexity were asked to complete an online anonymous survey. Subjects were recruited through a Complex Care listerv. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics.


      85 subjects completed the survey, of whom 87.1% (n= 74) were physicians, and 12.0% (n=11) were nurse practitioners. Subjects reported several challenges in caring for CMC, including symptom management, establishing goals of care, advance care planning, and coordination of care. A majority of subjects reported benefitting from palliative care consultative assistance in each subject area. Most subjects described their relationship with palliative care as a close partnership with frequent overlap.


      The evolving field of pediatric complex care is associated with an array of challenges in caring for CMC. Many of these challenges include competency areas where palliative care providers receive concerted training. Our research suggests greater palliative care involvement in the CMC population can benefit complex care teams and patients, given the expertise palliative providers can bring to the population and the discipline of complex care.

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