Background Paediatric palliative care provides supportive care to children with life-threatening or life-limiting illnesses throughout the disease trajectory. Up to 42% of children receiving palliative care in Canada will die within a freestanding paediatric hospice or designated end-of-life care bed. Few studies have assessed families’ experiences of this care within freestanding paediatric hospices.
Objectives To find and describe literature relating to family experiences in paediatric hospice palliative care throughout the end-of-life care journey including grief and bereavement.
Criteria Inclusion criteria: Children antepartum to 18 years or older if on paediatric palliative care service. Research conducted in freestanding paediatric hospices that focused on families’ experiences and perceptions of end-of-life and grief and bereavement care. Full-text articles available in English.
Exclusion criteria: Adult palliative and end-of-life care, respite care, palliative care provided in acute or community settings, professional perspectives, unexpected or sudden child death, pregnancy after loss.
Sources of evidence Academic Search Complete, CINAHL, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Embase, PsycINFO, PubMed and Web of Science databases were searched from database inception until the present. Grey literature was also searched for relevant results.
Charting methods The scoping review was guided by recommendations from Arksey and O’Malley and Levac et al.
Results A total of 4250 papers were retrieved, of which 10 met the scoping review criteria. The majority of studies were conducted in the UK. Three major themes emerged: more supportive care for families including grief and bereavement support, the hospice experience itself and future research areas.
Conclusions There is little literature that focuses specifically on the needs of families within freestanding paediatric hospices. Further examination of the themes identified above provides an opportunity for future research.
- Hospice care
- Terminal care
Data availability statement
Data are available upon reasonable request. Data and the research protocol are available from the authors upon request.
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Contributors JD, SRB, KdSC and MM were involved in designing the research. JD and SRB were involved in carrying out the review. JD was involved in writing the paper. JD, SRB, KdSC and MM were involved in editing the paper. JD is the author acting as guarantor.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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