Evaluating the Need for Integrated Pediatric Palliative Care Services in a Pediatric Oncology Setting: A Retrospective Audit

Vasudeva Bhat K, Krithika S Rao, Kalasekhar Vijayasekharan, Archana M. Venkatagiri, Ashwini S, Pankaj Singhai, Seema Rajesh Rao , Mayank Gupta, Naveen Sulakshan Salins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objectives: Early integrated palliative care has shown to improve the quality of life in patients with cancer. During the past decade, pediatric palliative care has become an established area of medical expertise, however due to scant information available regarding the triggers for referral and referral practice very few children receive a formal palliative care consult.
Materials and Methods: A retrospective audit of medical case records of pediatric oncology patients over a period of 1 year from September 30, 2019, to September 30, 2020, was conducted. Demographic details, diagnosis, staging, clinical parameters, reason for referral, and palliative care plan were captured in a predesigned pro forma.
Results: Among 126 children with cancer, 27 (21.4%) patients were referred to palliative care. Majority 21 (77%) referrals were inpatient consults. Symptom management 17 (44.7%) was the most common trigger for referral followed by referrals for psychosocial support 12 (14.4%). Children with solid tumors 16 (59%) were more often referred than hematological malignancies. Among those needing end of life care, 8 (88.8%) out of 9 families preferred home than hospital.
Conclusion: Low incidence of palliative care referral and presence of symptoms as a trigger for palliative care referral suggests gaps in the integrated approach. The study findings prompt a review of palliative care referral criteria and referral practice in a pediatric oncology setting.
Keywords: Childhood cancer, Early integration, Pediatric oncology, Pediatric palliative care
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)286-290
Number of pages5
JournalIndian Journal of Palliative Care
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 12-08-2021

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