Educational priorities for providing end-of-life care: Parent perspectives

Gitanjli Arora, Menchie Caliboso, Jennifer Baird, Rachel Rusch, Jennifer Greenman, Daniela Obregon, Janet R. Serwint

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


OBJECTIVES: Partnership with parents is a tenet of pediatric medicine; however, initiatives to include parents in education and research have been limited. Through focus groups, we included parents at the beginning of curriculum development by asking them to identify the priorities, existing supports, and opportunities for improvement in their child's end-of-life (EOL) care. METHODS: English and Spanish-speaking bereaved parents whose child had been cared for by the palliative care team and had died >18 months before the study initiation were invited to participate. In-person focus groups and a follow-up phone call were used to elicit opinions and capture a diversity of viewpoints. Themes were identified and clustered through an iterative analytic process. RESULTS: Twenty-seven parents of 17 children participated, with the total sample size determined by thematic saturation. Four themes were identified as important to parents in their child's EOL care: (1) honoring the role of the parent, (2) having confidence in the care team, (3) receiving gestures of love and caring, and (4) navigating logistic challenges. CONCLUSIONS: We asked parents to be partners in guiding priorities for health care education and professional development to improve pediatric EOL care. In addition to strengthening skills in communication, confidence in the team, and compassion, parents in this study identified a need for hospital staff to anticipate financial and social stressors and provide supportive resources more readily. Additionally, parents described clinical and nonclinical staff as providing support, suggesting that a multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary curriculum be developed to improve pediatric EOL care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2021051379
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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