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Speech-language pathologists in paediatric palliative care: a Delphi study protocol
  1. Lillian Krikheli1,2,
  2. Lindsay B Carey1,
  3. Bernice A Mathisen3,
  4. Shane Erickson4 and
  5. Christa L Carey-Sargeant1,5
  1. 1 Palliative Care Unit, School of Psychology and Public Health, College of Science, Health and Engineering, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  2. 2 Speech Pathology Department, Cabrini Health, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  3. 3 Speech Pathology, School of Health and Human Sciences, Southern Cross University, Bilinga, Queensland, Australia
  4. 4 Discipline of Speech Pathology, School of Allied Health, College of Science, Health and Engineering, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  5. 5 School of Audiology and Speech Pathology, Faculty of Dentistry, Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Lillian Krikheli, Palliative Care Unit School of Psychology and Public Health, La Trobe University, Melbourne, VIC 3086, Australia; l.krikheli{at}


Background Given the dearth of literature and no clinical practice guidelines written for speech-language pathologists (SLPs) working in paediatric palliative care (PPC), a need has been identified to explore the scope of clinical practice and strategies used by SLPs.

Objective This study aims to undertake an international investigation into the role and scope of practice of SLPs working in PPC to develop consensus-driven ‘Recommendations for Speech-Language Pathologists in Paediatric Palliative Care Teams’ (ReSP3CT).

Methods A modified Delphi process will be used to synthesise consensus-based statements from SLPs in six different countries about their role and practice working in PPC. Initially, preliminary survey data will be collected from SLPs to obtain demographic and caseload information. Respondents will then be invited to participate in an in-depth interview to explore common and unique themes that emerge from the online survey. Participants from the interview will then ‘opt-in’ to become Delphi panel members and receive questionnaires comprising statements for agreement over multiple rounds. Statements will be based on common themes that arise from the literature review, survey and interview data. The Delphi process for each statement will stop if statements achieve ≥ 70 % agreement and an IQR of ≤ 1 (maximum of five rounds).

Conclusion This is the first study to investigate the role and practice of SLPs in PPC across internationally accepted scope of practice areas. The study will use existing frameworks for statistical analysis and a mixed-methods approach to aid in the synthesis of statements/recommendations for international consensus.

  • span>MeSH
  • speech-language pathology [MeSH]
  • paediatric [MeSH]
  • palliative care [MeSH]
  • delphi technique [MeSH]
  • practice guidelines [MeSH]
  • mixed methods [MeSH]

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  • Correction notice This article has been corrected since it was published Online First. The authors' affiliations were corrected and ORCID IDs were corrected for Lindsay B Carey and Shane Erickson.

  • Contributors All authors have contributed significantly to this study and meet authorship requirements. More specifically: LK, LBC and BAM conceived the study idea, LK and LBC designed the protocol. All authors participated in drafting the manuscript and/or revising it critically for important intellectual content. All authors read and approved the final version of the manuscript for publication. All authors agreed to be accountable for all aspects of the work.

  • Funding The first author is supported by the Australian Government Research Training Program (RTP) for the duration of this study. Funding did not influence the study design, the writing of this manuscript, nor the decision to submit the paper for publication.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Not required.

  • Ethics approval The La Trobe University Science, Health & Engineering College Human Ethics Sub-Committee approved the trial as a low-risk study (Ref no: HEC18080). The study is also prospectively registered with the Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ID: ACTRN12618000620224).

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement Data sharing is not applicable to this article as no existing datasets will be accessed nor generated or analysed at time of publication.