Indicators Used to Assess the Impact of Specialized Pediatric Palliative Care: A Scoping Review
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BACKGROUND: Specialized pediatric palliative care programs aim to improve quality of life and ease distress of patients and their families across the illness trajectory. These programs require further development, which should be based on how they improve outcomes for patients, families, health care professionals, and the health care system. OBJECTIVE: To identify and compare definitions of indicators used to assess the impact of specialized pediatric palliative care programs. DESIGN: The scoping review protocol was prospectively registered on PROSPERO 2017 (CRD42017074090). DATE SOURCES: MEDLINE, PsycINFO, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Web of Science, CINAHL, Scopus, and Embase databases were searched from January 2000 to September 2018. Eligible studies included randomized controlled trials, experimental studies, or observational studies that compared specialized programs with usual care. Studies were excluded if most care recipients were older than 19 years or the article was not available in English, French, German, or Spanish. RESULTS: Forty-six studies were included; one was a randomized controlled trial. We identified 82 different indicators grouped into 14 domains. The most common indicators included the following: location of death, length of stay in hospital, and number of hospital admissions. Only 22 indicators were defined identically in at least 2 studies. Only one study included children's perspectives in assessing indicators. CONCLUSIONS: Many indicators were used to assess program outcomes with little definition consensus across studies. Development of a set of agreed-upon indicators to assess program impact concurrent with family and patient input is essential to advance research and practice in pediatric palliative care.
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