Pediatric Palliative Care: Where Are We Now?

Tina M. Schwartz; Stephanie Chalupka


Pediatr Nurs. 2019;45(5):224-230. 

In This Article

Defining Success

When defining success in PPC, it cannot be determined in value as it would be in other medical specialties. Adult palliative care is determined by utilization of the quadruple aim of improving patient experience, providing better care, reduction of cost, and improved provider experiences (Bogetz & Friebert, 2017). By stating the components of the quadruple aim that the PPC community can meet is an essential task. This will help build a solid foundation to define success and build strong PPC teams in the future (Bogetz & Friebert, 2017).

As health care providers ask themselves the questions about what PPC is and determine its priorities, defining success will be less daunting. Currently, clinicians who provide PPC services can define success by trusting themselves in the care they provide (Bogetz & Friebert, 2017). By relying on one another and collaborating, palliative care teams can reflect on their strengths and work to improve their weaknesses. Family input and evaluation can also help guide teams to define valuable attributes of care (Bogetz & Friebert, 2017; Wallace, Halpern, Joshi, & Zwerdling, 2015). Finally, palliative care teams can look to organizations such as the AAP and National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization for guidelines and resources.

Palliative care encompasses numerous transitions and much uncertainty. This reality may often challenge how health care is delivered. Clinicians who work in PPC may be afforded opportunities to become more comfortable when faced with these challenges. There are also many times when providers, both professional and lay caregivers, might find themselves in unfamiliar territory as a patient and his or her family journey toward the end of life. During these emotional times, it is important for health care providers to find resources to assist them in understanding the current condition and prognosis. By providing an empathetic and compassionate attitude, and by facilitating open communication between team members and the patient and family, palliative care clinicians may help them better cope with a life-limiting illness or the end of life and bereavement of their loved one.