Barriers in care for children with life-threatening conditions: a qualitative interview study in the Netherlands

Title

Barriers in care for children with life-threatening conditions: a qualitative interview study in the Netherlands

Creator

Brouwer M; Maeckelberghe E L M; van der Heide A; Hein I; Verhagen E

Publisher

BMJ Open

Date

2020

Subject

medical ethics; paediatric palliative care; palliative care

Description

OBJECTIVE: To identify barriers, as perceived by parents, to good care for children with life-threatening conditions. DESIGN: In a nationwide qualitative study, we held in-depth interviews regarding end-of-life care with parents of children (aged 1 to 12 years) who were living with a life-threatening illness or who had died after a medical trajectory (a maximum of 5 years after the death of the child). Sampling was aimed at obtaining maximum variety for a number of factors. The interviews were transcribed and analysed. SETTING: The Netherlands. PARTICIPANTS: 64 parents of 44 children. RESULTS: Parents identified six categories of difficulties that create barriers in the care for children with a life-threatening condition. First, parents wished for more empathetic and open communication about the illness and prognosis. Second, organisational barriers create bureaucratic obstacles and a lack of continuity of care. Third, parents wished for more involvement in decision-making. Fourth, parents wished they had more support from the healthcare team on end-of-life decision-making. Fifth, parents experienced a lack of attention for the family during the illness and after the death of their child. Sixth, parents experienced an overemphasis on symptom-treatment and lack of attention for their child as a person. CONCLUSIONS: The barriers as perceived by parents focussed almost without exception on non-medical aspects: patient-doctor relationships; communication; decision-making, including end-of-life decision-making; and organisation. The perceived barriers indicate that care for children with a life-threatening condition focusses too much on symptoms and not enough on the human beings behind these symptoms.

Rights

Article information provided for research and reference use only. PedPalASCNET does not hold any rights over the resource listed here. All rights are retained by the journal listed under publisher and/or the creator(s).

Citation List Month

August 2020 List

Collection

Citation

Brouwer M; Maeckelberghe E L M; van der Heide A; Hein I; Verhagen E, “Barriers in care for children with life-threatening conditions: a qualitative interview study in the Netherlands,” Pediatric Palliative Care Library, accessed September 27, 2021, https://pedpalascnetlibrary.omeka.net/items/show/17164.

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