Background Understanding the needs of children with life-limiting illnesses and their families has been highlighted as a top research priority. Children’s palliative care services have been shown to have limited funding and resources to provide services which are equipped to meet the needs of families. There are, however, few studies which outline whether or not services, from the perspective of professionals and parents, meet the needs of this group.
Aim This study aims to examine how children’s palliative services care can be improved to meet the needs of children and their families.
Methods Phenomenological research eliciting semi-structured interviews with 29 professionals delivering care to children with life-limiting conditions were conducted. Professionals were recruited from a variety of services in the children’s palliative care pathway; hospice, hospitals, community care teams, social services, occupational therapy, spiritual services, supportive care, complementary therapy and so on. Interviews were recorded, transcribed and analysed thematically.
Proposed importance of the findings These findings provide insight into the professional experiences of unmet palliative care needs. Professional experiences present necessary improvements across the sampled palliative care services. Alongside interviews with parents currently accessing services and those bereaved parents, perspectives will be triangulated to highlight the unmet need. Recommendation for policy and guidance will be made to suggest improvements to the care of families in the future.
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