Multidisciplinary Clinician Perspectives on Embedded Palliative Care Models in Pediatric Cancer


CONTEXT: Integration of palliative care (PC) into pediatric cancer care is considered best practice by national oncology and pediatric organizations. Optimal strategies for PC integration remain understudied, although growing evidence suggests that embedded models improve quality of care and quality of life for patients and families. OBJECTIVE: To describe the perspectives and preferences of multidisciplinary clinicians regarding ideal models for PC integration in pediatric cancer care; to introduce clinicians to the theoretical concept of an embedded care model; to empower clinicians in co-design of a new institutional model through collaborative discussion of anticipated benefits and challenges of embedded model implementation. METHODS: Trained facilitators conducted 24 focus groups, stratified by discipline and care team. Focus groups were audio-recorded and transcribed for inductive content analysis using MAXQDA software. RESULTS: 174 clinicians participated (25 physicians, 30 APPs, 70 nurses, 49 psychosocial clinicians). Clinicians across disciplines verbalized that an embedded PC model would improve access to PC; however, identified benefits and challenges varied by discipline. Benefits included earlier integration of PC (physicians, APPs), normalization of PC as an integral aspect of care by patients/families (nurses, psychosocial), collaboration (physicians, psychosocial clinicians), and communication (APPs, psychosocial). Anticipated challenges included inadequate resources and physician resistance (physicians, APPs, nurses) and multidisciplinary role confusion (APPs, nurses, psychosocial). CONCLUSIONS: Pediatric clinicians recognize the potential value of an embedded PC model. Although some concepts overlapped, multidisciplinary clinicians offered unique beliefs, highlighting the importance of including representative perspectives to ensure that pediatric PC models align with priorities of diverse stakeholders.

Publication Title

Journal of pain and symptom management