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The needs of professionals in the palliative care of children and adolescents

Journal title
European journal of pediatrics
Publication year
Bergstraesser, E.; Inglin, S.; Abbruzzese, R.; Marfurt-Russenberger, K.; Hosek, M.; Hornung, R.

The main objectives of this qualitative study were to describe the perceptions and needs of pediatric health care professionals (HCPs) taking care of children with palliative care needs and to develop a concept for the first Center of Competence for Pediatric Palliative Care (PPC) in Switzerland. Within two parts of the study, 76 HCPs were interviewed. The main interview topics were: (1) definition of and attitude toward PPC; (2) current provision of PPC; (3) the support needs of HCPs in the provision of PPC; and (4) the role of specialized PPC teams. HCPs expressed openness to PPC and reported distinctive needs for support in the care of these patients. The main tasks of specialized PPC teams in Switzerland would encompass the coaching of attending teams, coordination of care, symptom control, and direct support of affected families during and beyond the illness of their child. CONCLUSION: This study indicates the need for specialized PPC in Switzerland both inside and outside of centers providing top quality medical care (Spitzenmedizin). Specialized PPC teams could have a significant impact on the care of children and families with PPC needs. Whether hospices are an option in Switzerland remains unanswered; however, a place to meet other families with similar destinies was emphasized.

Research abstracts