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The wrap-up: a unique forum to support pediatric residents when faced with the death of a child

Journal title
Journal of palliative medicine
Publication year
Bateman, S. T.; Dixon, R.; Trozzi, M.

OBJECTIVE: The project intended to describe the format of the Wrap-up, a unique multidisciplinary guided debriefing following a child’s death. Specific feedback from pediatric residents was sought to assess the model. METHODS: The Wrap-ups were timely (within 48 hours of a death), consistent (conducted after each pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) death), multidisciplinary (all care providers were invited), and specifically conducted by someone trained in postdeath facilitation. The role of the conductor was focused on being inclusive, navigating the discussion, diffusing areas of conflict or angst, and managing the tone of the meeting. Resident feedback was obtained by a one-time (May 2010) anonymous internet-based survey, with both open-ended free-text questions and five-point Likert scale queries. Surveyed were all residents rotating though the PICU between 2007 and 2010. Open-ended free-text responses were analyzed using content analysis methods by combining recurrent themes and organizing by main components of the Wrap-up. Quantitative responses, via a five-point Likert scale, were averaged. RESULTS: Between 2007 and 2010, there were 36 PICU deaths. The average age was nine years old. All deaths had an accompanying conductor-led Wrap-up occurring, on average, two days after the death. Sixty percent (27/45) of pediatric residents completed the survey. Their qualitative responses showed that the key components (timely, multidisciplinary, and specifically conducted) of the Wrap-ups were valuable. Quantitatively, they agreed or strongly agreed that the consistent Wrap-ups improved end-of-life care, teamwork, stress surrounding the death, and the ability to care for others. CONCLUSION: The Wrap-up, a unique forum for debriefing after a pediatric death, was well-received by residents and assisted them with processing, understanding, and resolving their experience regarding the pediatric death. The Wrap-up was a valuable addition to residents’ experience and education in pediatric critical care medicine and can be replicated in other institutions.

Research abstracts