Treatment limitation and advance planning: Hospital-wide audit of paediatric death


Treatment limitation and advance planning: Hospital-wide audit of paediatric death


Audigé M; Gillam L; Stark Z



Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health




advanced care planning; Child; documentation; end-of-life care; Hospitalization; Pediatric Hospitals; paediatrics; Palliative Care; Retrospective Studies; Terminal Care; treatment limitation


AIM: To examine paediatric deaths following withdrawal or withholding of medical treatment (WWMT) from a hospital-wide perspective and identify changes over a 10 year period. METHODS: A retrospective review of medical records was conducted for all paediatric inpatient deaths at the Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne from April 2015 to April 2016, and results were compared to 2007 data from our centre. χ(2) tests were used for comparisons. RESULTS: A total of 101 deaths occurred in the inpatient setting in 2015-2016. Most deaths followed WWMT (88/101, 87%) and occurred in children with pre-existing chronic conditions (85/101, 85%). There was a shift to earlier discussions with parents regarding WWMT compared to 10 years prior. Cases where discussions began prior to the last admission increased from 4 to 19% (P = 0.004). There was increased paediatric palliative care (PPC) involvement (10 vs. 37%, P < 0.001), and a slightly greater proportion of children died outside of intensive care (16 vs. 22%, P = 0.25). In 2015-2016, subgroup analysis showed that children who died as inpatients but outside of intensive care were 76% more likely to have PPC involved than those who died in intensive care (P < 0.001). Their families were 51% more likely to have discussed WWMT with medical staff before the last admission (P < 0.001). CONCLUSIONS: The last decade has seen an increase in PPC involvement and advance discussions around WWMT at our centre. Both of these are associated with death outside of intensive care.


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

July 2021 List



Audigé M; Gillam L; Stark Z, “Treatment limitation and advance planning: Hospital-wide audit of paediatric death,” Pediatric Palliative Care Library, accessed December 2, 2023,