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Specialist Palliative Care Service for Children With Life-Threatening Conditions: A Nationwide Survey of Availability and Utilization

Journal title
Journal of pain and symptom management
Publication year
2018
Author(s)
Yotani, N.; Kizawa, Y.
Pages
582-587
Volume
56
Number
4

CONTEXT: According to the International Observatory on End of Life Care, the level of pediatric palliative care in Japan is Level 2 (capacity building) and the current status of palliative care for children in Japan has not been clarified. OBJECTIVES: The objective of the study was to clarify the availability and utilization of specialist palliative care services among children with life-threatening conditions in Japan. METHODS: A questionnaire was administered to assess the availability of specialist palliative care services among children with life-threatening conditions. All 427 certified regional cancer centers having hospital-based adult palliative care teams, 15 certified children’s cancer centers having pediatric palliative care teams, and 368 medical institutions having a certified palliative care unit were surveyed. RESULTS: Fifteen to twenty-one percent of adult palliative care teams and more than 90% of pediatric palliative care teams had experience providing palliative care to children with cancer. By contrast, only 2%-3% of adult palliative care teams and 15% of pediatric palliative care teams had experience providing care for the noncancer population. An estimated 12% of children with cancer in Japan used hospital-based palliative care teams in 2015. Eight children used a palliative care unit in 2015, and of those, seven (88%) had a solid tumor. An estimated 1.3% of children with cancer who died in Japan used a palliative care unit. CONCLUSION: An estimated 12% of children with cancer in Japan used hospital-based palliative care teams and an estimated 1.3% of children with cancer who died in Japan used a palliative care unit in 2015.

Research abstracts