Pediatric Palliative Care Consultation Services in California Hospitals


Pediatric Palliative Care Consultation Services in California Hospitals


Reid T; O'Riordan DL; Mazzini A; Bruno KA; Pantilat SZ


Journal Of Palliative Medicine




Abstract Background: The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that palliative care be available to seriously ill hospitalized children, yet little is known about how these services are structured. Objective: The study's aim is to report the prevalence of pediatric palliative care services (PCS) and compare the structure of pediatric PCS to adult PCS within California hospitals. Methods: We surveyed 377 hospitals to assess the prevalence, structure, and characteristics of pediatric and adult PCS. Hospitals were categorized as children's hospitals with a pediatric-only PCS, mixed hospitals with pediatric and adult PCS, and hospitals with adult-only PCS. Results: All 8 children's hospitals in the state reported having a pediatric PCS, and 36 pediatric PCSs were in mixed hospitals. Mixed hospitals saw fewer (p=0.0001) children per year (mean=5.6, standard deviation [SD]=3.6) than pediatric-only PCSs (mean=168, SD=73). Pediatric-only PCSs treated more patients for noncancer-related illness (82.5%) than pediatric PCSs in mixed hospitals (34.5%, p=0.03) or adult-only PCSs (52.4%, p=0.001). All PCSs were universally available (100%) during weekday business hours and half were available during weekend business hours. Pediatric-only PCSs had a mean total full-time equivalent (FTE) of 1.9, which was not significantly different (p=0.3) from the total FTE for pediatric PCSs in mixed hospitals (mean=1.1, SD=1.4) or for adult-only PCSs (mean=2.7, SD=2.0). However, in mixed hospitals the adult PCS had a significantly higher (p=0.005) total FTE (mean=2.4, SD=1.3) than the pediatric PCS (mean=1.1, SD=1.4). Conclusion: All children's hospital and a few mixed hospitals offer pediatric PCS. Better understanding of the palliative care needs of seriously ill children in mixed hospitals and assessment of the quality of care provided will help ensure that children seen in these hospitals receive necessary care.


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Reid T; O'Riordan DL; Mazzini A; Bruno KA; Pantilat SZ, “Pediatric Palliative Care Consultation Services in California Hospitals,” Pediatric Palliative Care Library, accessed May 21, 2022,

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