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A Tool for the Evaluation of Clinical Needs and Eligibility to Pediatric Palliative Care: The Validation of the ACCAPED Scale

Journal title
Journal of palliative medicine
Publication year
Lazzarin, P.; Giacomelli, L.; Terrenato, I.; Benini, F.

Background: Despite their importance, pediatric palliative care (PPC) services are still scantly diffused. In addition, eligibility criteria for PPC are quite complex. Consequently, clinicians require a tool that suggests how to refer patients with life-limiting diseases to the most appropriate service and how to properly allocate health care resources. Objective: Recently, the Accertamento dei bisogni Clinico-Assistenziali Complessi in PEDiatria (ACCAPED) scale has been developed by a group of experts in PPC to evaluate the specific clinical needs of pediatric patients with a life-limiting disease. This study presents the validation of the ACCAPED scale. Design: Validation of ACCAPED scale was pursued by means of description and analysis of clinical vignettes representing patients with challenging-to-evaluate needs who have to be referred to the most appropriate service (community care, general PPC, and specialized PPC). The evaluation of vignettes according to the clinical experience of the experts represented the gold standard against which the validity of the ACCAPED scale was tested by groups with different levels of experience (experts, pediatricians, and health care providers (HCPs) not involved in PPC). Results: Results show a very high concordance between the evaluation of the vignettes through the ACCAPED scale and the evaluation by the clinical experience for experts in PPC and pediatricians. A less favorable grade of concordance has been recorded for HCPs not involved in PPC, suggesting that educational efforts to improve basic knowledge of PPC within the medical community are needed. Conclusions: Overall, this study suggests that the ACCAPED scale is a useful tool to improve rationalization of resources and eligibility criteria for PPC.

Research abstracts