Context: Most children with cancer die in hospital settings, without hospice, and many suffer from high-intensity medical interventions and pain at end of life (EOL). Objectives: To examine the effects of COMPLETE: a communication plan early through EOL to increase hospice enrollment in children with cancer at EOL. Methods: This is a two-phase, single-arm, two-center, and prospective pilot study of hospice enrollment in children with cancer whose parents received COMPLETE. COMPLETE is a series of medical doctor (MD)/registered nurse (RN)-guided discussions of goals of care using visual aids that begin at diagnosis. COMPLETE training for MD/RNs in Phase II was revised to increase their use of empathy. Preintervention/postintervention measurements for child include: time of hospice enrollment, pain, high-intensity medical interventions at EOL, and location of death; and for parent the following: uncertainty and hope. Results: Twenty-one parents of 18 children enrolled in the study, and 13 children were followed through EOL. At EOL, 11 (84.6%) died on home hospice or inpatient hospice, and only two (15%) received high-intensity medical interventions. Similar to published findings in the initial 13 parents enrolled in Phase I, parents in Phase II (n = 7) had improvement in hope and uncertainty, and child pain was decreased. Revised training resulted in significant improvement in MD/RN (N = 6) use of empathy (11% in Phase I vs. 100% in Phase II; P = 0.001). Conclusion: COMPLETE resulted in increased hospice enrollment in children with cancer at EOL compared with historical controls. In preanalysis/postanalysis, COMPLETE decreased child pain while supporting hope and reducing uncertainty in their parents.
- palliative care
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology
- Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine