Specialist perinatal palliative care: a retrospective review of antenatal referrals to a children's palliative care service over 14 years

Title

Specialist perinatal palliative care: a retrospective review of antenatal referrals to a children's palliative care service over 14 years

Creator

Bertaud S; Brightley G; Crowley N; Craig F; Wilkinson D

Publisher

BMC Palliative Care

Date

2023

Subject

child; article; female; human; major clinical study; male; palliative therapy; hospice; uncertainty; school child; fetus; retrospective study; medical record review; infant; heart; hospital mortality; trisomy 18; prenatal period

Description

Perinatal palliative care is an emerging branch of children's palliative care. This study sought to better understand the pattern of antenatal referrals and the role of a specialist paediatric palliative care (PPC) team in supporting families throughout the antenatal period. Methods: A single-centre retrospective chart review of all antenatal referrals to a quaternary children's palliative care service over a 14-year period from 2007 to 2021. Results: One hundred fifty-nine antenatal referrals were made to the PPC team over a 14-year period, with increasing referrals over time. Referrals were made for a broad spectrum of diagnoses with cardiac conditions (29% of referrals) and Trisomy 18 (28% of referrals) being the most prevalent. 129 referrals had contact with the PPC team prior to birth and 60 had a personalised symptom management plan prepared for the baby prior to birth. Approximately one third (48/159) died in utero or were stillborn. Only a small number of babies died at home (n = 10) or in a hospice (n = 6) and the largest number died in hospital (n = 72). 30 (19% of all referrals) were still alive at the time of the study aged between 8 months and 8 years. Conclusions: Specialist PPC teams can play an important role in supporting families during the antenatal period following a diagnosis of a life-limiting fetal condition and demand for this service is increasing. A large proportion of the cases referred will not survive to the point of delivery and a number of babies may survive much longer than predicted. PPC teams can be particularly helpful navigating the uncertainty that exists in the antenatal period and ensuring that plans are made for the full spectrum of possible outcomes.

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

February List 2024

Collection

Citation

Bertaud S; Brightley G; Crowley N; Craig F; Wilkinson D, “Specialist perinatal palliative care: a retrospective review of antenatal referrals to a children's palliative care service over 14 years,” Pediatric Palliative Care Library, accessed May 20, 2024, https://pedpalascnetlibrary.omeka.net/items/show/19465.