Goals of Care Among Parents of Children Receiving Palliative Care
IMPORTANCE: While knowing the goals of care (GOCs) for children receiving pediatric palliative care (PPC) are crucial for guiding the care they receive, how parents prioritize these goals and how their priorities may change over time is not known. OBJECTIVE: To determine parental prioritization of GOCs and patterns of change over time for parents of children receiving palliative care. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: A Pediatric Palliative Care Research Network's Shared Data and Research cohort study with data collected at 0, 2, 6, 12, 18, and 24 months in hospital, outpatient, or home settings from April 10, 2017, to February 15, 2022, at 7 PPC programs based at children's hospitals across the US. Participants included parents of patients, birth to 30 years of age, who received PPC services. EXPOSURES: Analyses were adjusted for demographic characteristics, number of complex chronic conditions, and time enrolled in PPC. MAIN OUTCOMES: Parents' importance scores, as measured using a discrete choice experiment, of 5 preselected GOCs: seeking quality of life (QOL), health, comfort, disease modification, or life extension. Importance scores for the 5 GOCs summed to 100. RESULTS: A total of 680 parents of 603 patients reported on GOCs. Median patient age was 4.4 (IQR, 0.8-13.2) years and 320 patients were male (53.1%). At baseline, parents scored QOL as the most important goal (mean score, 31.5 [SD, 8.4]), followed by health (26.3 [SD, 7.5]), comfort (22.4 [SD, 11.7]), disease modification (10.9 [SD, 9.2]), and life extension (8.9 [SD, 9.9]). Importantly, parents varied substantially in their baseline scores for each goal (IQRs more than 9.4), but across patients in different complex chronic conditions categories, the mean scores varied only slightly (means differ 8.7 or less). For each additional study month since PPC initiation, QOL was scored higher by 0.06 (95% CI, 0.04-0.08) and comfort scored higher by 0.3 (95% CI, 0-0.06), while the importance score for life extension decreased by 0.07 (95% CI, 0.04-0.09) and disease modification by 0.02 (95% CI, 0-0.04); health scores did not significantly differ from PPC initiation. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: Parents of children receiving PPC placed the highest value on QOL, but with considerable individual-level variation and substantial change over time. These findings emphasize the importance of reassessing GOCs with parents to guide appropriate clinical intervention.
Feudtner, Chris; Beight, Leah J.; Boyden, Jackelyn Y.; Hill, Douglas L.; Hinds, Pamela S.; Johnston, Emily E.; Friebert, Sarah E.; Bogetz, Jori F.; Kang, Tammy I.; Hall, Matt; Nye, Russell T.; and Wolfe, Joanne, "Goals of Care Among Parents of Children Receiving Palliative Care" (2023). GW Authored Works. Paper 2730.