Family meetings in paediatric palliative care: an integrative review


Family meetings in paediatric palliative care: an integrative review


Bradford N; Rolfe M; Ekberg S; Mitchell G; Beane T; Ferranti K; Herbert A


BMJ supportive & palliative care




communication; Communication strategies; family meetings; integrative review; pediatric palliative care


OBJECTIVE: Our aim was to synthesise the available evidence surrounding the structure, processes and outcomes of family meetings in the paediatric palliative care literature. METHOD(S): We undertook an integrative literature review informed by the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines. The protocol was registered with PROSPERO (CRD42019138938). Electronic databases were systematically search using keywords and hand searching of reference articles and grey literature was also completed. RESULT(S): Ten empirical studies and five theoretical articles were included in the synthesis. Empirical studies provided more information about meeting structure, whereas theoretical articles more frequently described a desired process for planning and undertaking meetings. No articles identified how the success of a meeting was defined or made recommendations for doing so. Despite reports that family meetings are commonly occurring, few articles described outcomes from either the family or clinician perspectives. CONCLUSION(S): Family meetings are essential communication strategies commonly used in paediatric palliative care, yet there is little guidance about how meetings should be organised and conducted, who should participate and when they should occur. The limited data available on the outcomes of family meetings suggest improvements are required to meet the needs of families. We present a framework that synthesises the available evidence. The framework offers an overview of the elements to consider when planning for and undertaking family meetings in paediatric palliative care and may be useful for both clinicians and researchers. Copyright © Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2020. No commercial re-use. See rights and permissions. Published by BMJ.


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Bradford N; Rolfe M; Ekberg S; Mitchell G; Beane T; Ferranti K; Herbert A, “Family meetings in paediatric palliative care: an integrative review,” Pediatric Palliative Care Library, accessed April 18, 2024,