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Quality measures for end-of-life care for children with cancer: A modified Delphi approach.

Johnston EE, Martinez I, Wolfe J, Asch SM. Quality measures for end-of-life care for children with cancer: A modified Delphi approach. Cancer. 2021 Jul 15; 127(14):2571-2578.

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Abstract:

BACKGROUND: The quality of adult end-of-life (EOL) cancer care has benefited from quality measures, but corresponding pediatric measures are lacking. Therefore, the authors used a validated expert panel method to recommend EOL quality measures for pediatric oncology. METHODS: The authors used the modified Delphi method to assess potential quality measures. Panelists were selected on the basis of professional organization nominations and expert qualifications. Pediatric and adult oncology, pediatric palliative care, social work, nursing, and hospice were represented. The authors provided the panel with a literature review on 20 proposed measures derived from adult measures and bereaved family interviews. The panel first scored the importance of each measure on a 9-point scale and then discussed the measures via a conference call. The panel then rescored the measures. According to a priori standards, measures with median scores 7 with at least 7 of 9 experts ranking it as 4 were endorsed. RESULTS: The 16 endorsed measures included measures related to avoidance of medically intense care (eg, intensive care unit death and intubation in the last 14 days of life), death location (eg, death in the preferred location), hospital policies/programs (eg, the removal of visitor restrictions at EOL and the presence of a bereavement program), and supportive care services (eg, pediatric palliative care involvement and sibling needs assessment). Unendorsed measures included avoidance of chemotherapy at EOL and home death. CONCLUSIONS: Expert panel-endorsed quality measures have been developed for EOL care in pediatric oncology. The measures need validation with bereaved families and further refinement before they are ready for real-world application as a tool for standardizing EOL care in pediatric oncology. LAY SUMMARY: Quality measures for end-of-life care for children with cancer lag behind adult quality measures. Therefore, the authors have conducted an expert panel to develop an endorsed list of quality measures for end-of-life care for children with cancer. The 16 endorsed measures include measures related to avoidance of medically intense care (eg, intensive care unit death and intubation in the last 14 days of life), location of death (eg, death in the preferred location), hospital policies/programs (eg, the removal of visitor restrictions at the end of life and the presence of a bereavement program), and supportive care services (eg, pediatric palliative care involvement and sibling needs assessment).





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