Serious Illness Conversations in Pediatrics: A Case Review


Serious Illness Conversations in Pediatrics: A Case Review


van Breemen C; Johnston J; Carwana M; Louie P






childhood cancer; communication; palliative care


The Serious Illness Conversation Guide program developed by Ariadne Labs, a Joint Center for Health Systems Innovation, includes a list of patient-centered questions designed to assist clinicians to gain a more thorough understanding of their patient’s life in order to inform future care decisions. In July 2017, specialist pediatric palliative care clinicians at Canuck Place Children’s Hospice (CPCH) (Vancouver, BC, Canada), adapted the original guide to use with parents of children with serious illness. This tool is referred to as the Serious Illness Conversation Guide-Peds (SICG-Peds). Using the SICG-Peds, along with enhanced communication skills, can help illuminate the parents’ (child’s) understanding of illness and the values they hold. Expanding the application of the guide will promote goal-based, efficient, comprehensive and consistent communication between families and clinicians and help ensure that seriously ill children receive care that is tailored to their needs through the disease trajectory. This paper explores the guide through the lens of a case study. The steps—seeking permission, assessing understanding, sharing prognosis and exploring key topics (hopes, fears, strengths, critical abilities and trade-offs)—as well as formulating clinician recommendations, are described.


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

October 2020 List



van Breemen C; Johnston J; Carwana M; Louie P, “Serious Illness Conversations in Pediatrics: A Case Review,” Pediatric Palliative Care Library, accessed March 2, 2021,

Social Bookmarking