Together for Short Lives
Call the Helpline 0808 8088 100

Pediatric Palliative Care Program versus Usual Care and Healthcare Resource Utilization in British Columbia: A Matched-Pairs Cohort Study

Journal title
Journal of palliative medicine
Publication year
Conte, T.; Mitton, C.; Erdelyi, S.; Chavoshi, N.; Siden, H.

BACKGROUND: Evidence on the impact of pediatric palliative care programs (PPCP) on resource utilization is scarce and requires broader measures to include utilization beyond the hospital setting. OBJECTIVE: This research aims to provide a Canadian comparative analysis between children in a PPCP with those under usual care, including hospice use to inpatient resource use measurement. METHODS: We conducted a retrospective matched-pairs (disease and age at death) cohort comparison of children who died in hospice versus hospital (never enrolled in a PPCP), from 2008 to 2012. Utilization was retrieved from administrative databases and chart review. The main outcomes were number of admissions and length of stay (LOS). RESULTS: Eleven pairs were found. PPCP users were more likely to have advanced directives (100% vs. 27%). After controlling for disease and age, we found no significant difference in number of admissions; however, PPCP users had an increase in admissions post-referral compared to pre-referral (median 3.08 admissions), driven by the need for critical care. We did not find a significant difference in LOS, but observed longer admissions among PPCP users pre- (1.91 days/month) and post-referral (3.66 days/month) compared to usual care. Over 60% of inpatient utilization shifted to the hospice post-referral. DISCUSSION: The terminal pediatric population referred to PPCP may systematically differ from those under usual care even before enrollment, presenting with higher inpatient utilization in critical care nearing death. A significant portion of inpatient utilization shifted to the hospice, with implications for resource reallocation and enhancements in PPCP referrals.

Research abstracts