End of life care for infants, children and young people (ENHANCE): Protocol for a mixed methods evaluation of current practice in the United Kingdom

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JournalNIHR Open Research
DateAccepted/In press - 13 May 2022
Volume2
Number of pages14
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Background:
Although child mortality has decreased over the last few decades, around 4,500 infants and children die in the UK every year, many of whom require palliative care. There is, however, little evidence on paediatric end-of-life care services. The current National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidance provides recommendations about what should be offered, but these are based on low quality evidence. The ENHANCE study aims to identify and investigate the different models of existing end-of-life care provision for infants, children, and young people in the UK, including an assessment of the outcomes and experiences for children and parents, and the cost implications to families and healthcare providers.

Methods:
This mixed methods study will use three linked workstreams and a cross-cutting health economics theme to examine end-of-life care models in three exemplar clinical settings: infant, children and young adult cancer services (PTCs), paediatric intensive care units (PICUs), and neonatal units (NNUs).
Workstream 1 (WS1) will survey current practice in each setting and will result in an outline of the different models of care used. WS2 is a qualitative comparison of the experiences of staff, parents and patients across the different models identified. WS3 is a quantitative assessment of the outcomes, resource use and costs across the different models identified.

Discussion:
Results from this study will contribute to an understanding of how end-of-life care can provide the greatest benefit for children at the end of their lives. It will also allow us to understand the likely benefits of additional funding in end-of-life care in terms of patient outcomes.

Bibliographical note

© 2022 Papworth A et al

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