Home-based palliative care for children--Part 2: The benefits of an established program.

C. M. Duffy, P. Pollock, M. Levy, E. Budd, L. Caulfield, G. Koren

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Thirty-four patients have been admitted to our palliative care program since its institution in March 1986. Five were unsuitable and were withdrawn soon after admission. Of the remainder, 22 (75.9%) had central nervous system (CNS) tumors, 5 (17.2%) had myelomeningocoele, 1 (3.45%) had an arteriovenous (AV) malformation, and 1 (3.45%) had a storage disease. Twenty-five (86.2%) have since died and 17 (68%) of these have died at home. In comparison with a similar group of 30 patients studied in a feasibility study prior to the institution of our program, patients admitted to our palliative care program were hospitalized for significantly fewer days during the terminal phase of their illness (p less than 0.05) and a significantly higher proportion died at home (p less than 0.001). Following a survey of the parents of 14 children diagnosed with CNS tumors who died while under our care, we determined that the overall level of satisfaction with the program was high compared to care provided prior to admission to the program (p less than 0.01). Components of the program deemed most satisfactory were (1) being able to care for the child at home (p less than 0.01), (2) having access to a palliative care nurse (p less than 0.05), and (3) having access to a pediatric clinical pharmacologist (p less than 0.05). The most troublesome symptoms occurring in this group of patients were pain, gastrointestinal symptoms, and seizures. Most problems were adequately managed by the parents under the supervision of the team. Eighty percent of the terminal care for these patients was provided at home.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8-14
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Palliative Care
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1990
Externally publishedYes


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