Together for Short Lives
Call the Helpline 0808 8088 100

From Fear to Confidence: Changing Providers’ Attitudes About Pediatric Palliative and Hospice Care

Journal title
Journal of pain and symptom management
Publication year
Vesel, T.; Beveridge, C.

CONTEXT: Children have limited access to hospice care: few existing hospice programs have dedicated pediatric teams, and adult hospice providers feel inadequately trained to care for children. OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to increase access to pediatric hospice care by empowering adult hospice providers to care for children through a comprehensive education program. Education empowers providers by changing their attitudes from inadequacy to confidence. METHODS: The authors developed a two-day education program to train interdisciplinary teams of adult hospice providers in pediatric care. The curriculum consists of 13 modules to improve participants’ knowledge, skills, and attitudes. Ninety-three providers across the U.S. learned via multiple teaching methods including lectures, role plays by professional actors, interviews of bereaved parents, and self-reflections. Learning was evaluated with assessments before, immediately after, and six months after the program. Responses were compared using a one-sided analysis of variation with a significance level of alpha <0.05. RESULTS: Participants improved their knowledge in 12 of 13 modules. Self-reported confidence levels with pediatric care improved significantly in all 13 modules (P < 0.05). After this program, 79% of providers reported feeling better prepared to care for pediatric hospice patients. Qualitative data reinforced that learners felt more prepared to care for pediatric patients. CONCLUSION: A two-day, high-intensity low-cost community-based education program can improve adult providers' knowledge of and skill level with pediatric care, leading to a change in attitude from fear to confidence. This model has the potential to increase access to pediatric hospice care as it uses existing adult hospice infrastructure.

Research abstracts