Acetaminophen overdose is a major concern among the pediatric population. Our objective was to assess the validity of International Classification of Disease (ICD-9-CM) codes for identification of pediatric emergency department (ED) visits resulting from acetaminophen exposure or overdose.
We conducted a retrospective medical record review of ED visits at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston, Texas, between January 1, 2005, and December 31, 2010. Visits coded with 1 or more ICD-9 codes for poisoning (965, 977, and their subcodes and supplemental E-codes E850, E858, E935, E947, and E950 and their subcodes) were identified from an administrative database, and further review of the medical records was conducted to identify true cases of acetaminophen exposure or overdose. We then examined the sensitivity, positive predictive value, and percentage of false positives identified by various codes and code combinations to establish which codes most accurately identified acetaminophen exposure or overdose.
Of 1,215 ED visits documented with 1 or more of the selected codes, 316 (26.0%) were a result of acetaminophen exposure or overdose. Sensitivity was highest (87.0%) for the combination of codes 965.4 (poisoning by aromatic analgesics, not elsewhere classified) and E950.0 (suicide and self-inflicted poisoning by analgesics, antipyretics, and antirheumatics), with a positive predictive value of 86.2%. Code 965.4 alone yielded a sensitivity of 85.1%, with a positive predictive value of 92.8%. Code performance varied among age groups and depending on the type of exposure (intentional or unintentional).
ICD-9 codes are useful for ascertaining which ED visits are a result of acetaminophen exposure or overdose within the pediatric population. However, because ICD-9 coding differs by age group and depending on the type of exposure, hypothesis-driven strategies must be utilized for each pediatric age group to avoid misclassification.
Acetaminophen; Overdose; Pediatric; Emergency department; Validity
No consensus exists among general pediatricians or pediatric rheumatologists regarding whether corticosteroid therapy ameliorates the acute manifestations of Henoch-Schönlein purpura or mitigates renal injury. Therefore, we sought to synthesize the reported experimental and observational data regarding corticosteroid use.
We performed a meta-analysis based on a comprehensive review of the literature in the Medline database (1956 to January 2007) and the Cochrane Controlled Trials Register. On the basis of reported outcomes among patients with Henoch-Schönlein purpura who were treated at diagnosis with corticosteroids compared with patients treated with supportive care only, we calculated odds ratios for the resolution of abdominal pain, the need for surgical intervention secondary to severe pain or intussusception, the likelihood of Henoch-Schönlein purpura recurrence, and the development of transient or persistent renal disease.
Of 201 articles retrieved from the initial literature search, 15 were eligible for inclusion. Corticosteroid treatment did not reduce the median time to resolution of abdominal pain but did significantly reduce the mean resolution time and increased the odds of resolution within 24 hours. Early corticosteroid treatment significantly reduced the odds of developing persistent renal disease. In addition, although the results were not statistically significant, the prospective data suggest reduced odds of both surgical intervention and recurrence.
Corticosteroids, given early in the course of illness, seem to produce consistent benefits for several major clinically relevant Henoch-Schönlein purpura outcomes.
Henoch-Schönlein purpura; corticosteroids; children; meta-analytic methods; systematic reviews
To characterize the effect of corticosteroid exposure on clinical outcomes in children hospitalized with new-onset Henoch-Schönlein purpura (HSP).
PATIENTS AND METHODS
We conducted a retrospective cohort study of children discharged with an International Classification of Diseases, Clinical Modification code of HSP between 2000 and 2007 by using inpatient administrative data from 36 tertiary care children’s hospitals. We used stratified Cox proportional hazards regression models to estimate the relative effect of time-varying corticosteroid exposure on the risks of clinical outcomes that occur during hospitalization for acute HSP.
During the 8-year study period, there were 1895 hospitalizations for new-onset HSP. After multivariable regression modeling adjustment, early corticosteroid exposure significantly reduced the hazard ratios for abdominal surgery (0.39 [95% confidence interval (CI): 0.17– 0.91]), endoscopy (0.27 [95% CI: 0.13– 0.55]), and abdominal imaging (0.50 [95% CI: 0.29 – 0.88]) during hospitalization.
In the hospital setting, early corticosteroid exposure was associated with benefits for several clinically relevant HSP outcomes, specifically those related to the gastrointestinal manifestations of the disease.
cohort; corticosteroids; adolescents; and epidemiology
Hospitals are being required to report publically their adjusted mortality rates, which are then being used to rank hospitals. Our objectives were to assess the statistical reliability of the determination of a hospital's adjusted mortality rate, of comparisons of that rate with the rates of other hospitals, and of the use of those rates to rank the hospitals.
A cross-sectional study of 473 383 patients discharged from 42 US children's hospitals in 2008 was performed. Hospital-specific observed/expected (O/E) mortality rate ratios and corresponding hospital rankings, with 95% confidence intervals (CIs), were examined.
Hospitals' O/E mortality rate ratios exhibited wide 95% CIs, and no hospital was clearly distinguishable from the other hospitals' aggregated mean mortality performance. Only 2 hospitals' mortality performance fell outside the comparator hospitals' 95% CI. Those hospitals' 95% CIs overlapped with the overall comparator set's 95% CI, which suggests that there were no statistically significant hospital outliers. Fourteen (33.3%) of the 42 hospitals had O/E ratios that were not statistically different from being in the 95% CI of the top 10% of hospitals. Hospital-specific mortality rate rankings displayed even broader 95% CIs; the typical hospital had a 95% CI range that spanned 22 rank-order positions.
Children's hospital-specific measures of adjusted mortality rate ratios and rankings have substantial amounts of statistical imprecision, which limits the usefulness of such measures for comparisons of quality of care.
quality appraisal; quality improvement; mortality rates; hospital performance
The Institute of Medicine has prioritized shared decision making (SDM), yet little is known about the impact of SDM over time on behavioral outcomes for children. This study examined the longitudinal association of SDM with behavioral impairment among children with special health care needs (CSHCN).
CSHCN aged 5-17 years in the 2002-2006 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey were followed for 2 years. The validated Columbia Impairment Scale measured impairment. SDM was measured with 7 items addressing the 4 components of SDM. The main exposures were (1) the mean level of SDM across the 2 study years and (2) the change in SDM over the 2 years. Using linear regression, we measured the association of SDM and behavioral impairment.
Among 2,454 subjects representing 10.2 million CSHCN, SDM increased among 37% of the population, decreased among 36% and remained unchanged among 27%. For CSHCN impaired at baseline, the change in SDM was significant with each 1-point increase in SDM over time associated with a 2-point decrease in impairment (95% CI: 0.5, 3.4), whereas the mean level of SDM was not associated with impairment. In contrast, among those below the impairment threshold, the mean level of SDM was significant with each one point increase in the mean level of SDM associated with a 1.1-point decrease in impairment (0.4, 1.7), but the change was not associated with impairment.
Although the change in SDM may be more important for children with behavioral impairment and the mean level over time for those below the impairment threshold, results suggest that both the change in SDM and the mean level may impact behavioral health for CSHCN.
Children with Special Health Care Needs; Communication; Decision-Making
Although pediatric nurses working in children's hospitals often provide care to dying children, little is known about their palliative care beliefs and experiences as individuals or members of groups within the hospital.
To describe pediatric nurses' ratings of palliative care goals and problems, as individuals and members of clusters of nurses with similar views, and nurses' degree of collaboration with an inpatient palliative care team across hospital units.
A cross-sectional survey of nurses at a freestanding children's hospital in 2005.
Nurses rated the most important goals as managing pain, maintaining the child's quality of life, and improving communication. Commonly cited problems were lack of opportunity to debrief after a patient's death, uncertainty about the goals of care, and the health care team's reluctance to discuss hospice with family. Based on individual views about goals and problems, nurses clustered into 5 groups that differed in terms of the adamancy of their views and the scope of the goals and problems they considered important or significant. The hospital unit was the most important factor in predicting nurses' degree of collaboration with the palliative care team even after accounting for individual characteristics.
Pediatric nurses broadly endorse both the importance of palliative care goals and the presence of problems yet perceive the importance of these goals and problems differently. Further, they vary in their level of collaborative practice with a palliative care team in ways that should be accounted for when planning and implementing palliative care programs.
Early hospital readmission is emerging as an indicator of care quality. Some children with chronic illnesses may be readmitted on a recurrent basis, but there are limited data describing their rehospitalization patterns and impact.
To describe the inpatient resource utilization, clinical characteristics, and admission reasons of patients recurrently readmitted to children’s hospitals.
Design, Setting, and Patients
Retrospective cohort analysis of 317 643 patients (n=579 504 admissions) admitted to 37 US children’s hospitals in 2003 with follow-up through 2008.
Main Outcome Measure
Maximum number of readmissions experienced by each child within any 365-day interval during the 5-year follow-up period.
In the sample, 69 294 patients (21.8%) experienced at least 1 readmission within 365 days of a prior admission. Within a 365-day interval, 9237 patients (2.9%) experienced 4 or more readmissions; time between admissions was a median 37 days (interquartile range [IQR], 21–63). These patients accounted for 18.8% (109 155 admissions) of all admissions and 23.2% ($3.4 billion) of total inpatient charges for the study cohort during the entire follow-up period. Tests for trend indicated that as the number of readmissions increased from 0 to 4 or more, the prevalences increased for a complex chronic condition (from 22.3% [n=55 382/248 349] to 89.0% [n=8225/9237]; P <.001), technology assistance (from 5.3% [n = 13 163] to 52.6% [n=4859]; P <.001), public insurance use (from 40.9% [n = 101 575] to 56.3% [n=5202]; P <.001), and non-Hispanic black race (from 21.8% [n=54 140] to 34.4% [n=3181]; P <.001); and the prevalence decreased for readmissions associated with an ambulatory care–sensitive condition (from 23.1% [62 847/272 065] to 14.0% [15 282/109 155], P<.001). Of patients readmitted 4 or more times in a 365-day interval, 2633 (28.5%) were rehospitalized for a problem in the same organ system across all admissions during the interval.
Among a group of pediatric hospitals, 18.8% of admissions and 23.2% of inpatient charges were accounted for by the 2.9% of patients with frequent recurrent admissions. Many of these patients were rehospitalized recurrently for a problem in the same organ system.
The test characteristics of head circumference (HC) measurement percentile criteria for the identification of previously undetected pathology associated with head enlargement in primary care are unknown.
Electronic patient records were reviewed to identify children age 3 days to 3 years with new diagnoses of intracranial expansive conditions (IEC) and metabolic and genetic conditions associated with macrocephaly (MGCM). We tested the following HC percentile threshold criteria: ever above the 95th, 97th, or 99.6th percentile and ever crossing 2, 4, or 6 increasing major percentile lines. The Centers for Disease Control and World Health Organization growth curves were used, as well as the primary care network (PCN) curves previously derived from this cohort.
Among 74,428 subjects, 85 (0.11%) had a new diagnosis of IEC (n = 56) or MGCM (n = 29), and between these 2 groups, 24 received intervention. The 99.6th percentile of the PCN curve was the only threshold with a PPV over 1% (PPV 1.8%); the sensitivity of this threshold was only 15%. Test characteristics for the 95th percentiles were: sensitivity (CDC: 46%; WHO: 55%; PCN: 40%), positive predictive value (PPV: CDC: 0.3%; WHO: 0.3%; PCN: 0.4%), and likelihood ratios positive (LR+: CDC: 2.8; WHO: 2.2; PCN: 3.9). Test characteristics for the 97th percentiles were: sensitivity (CDC: 40%; WHO: 48%; PCN: 34%), PPV (CDC: 0.4%; WHO: 0.3%; PCN: 0.6%), and LR+ (CDC: 3.6; WHO: 2.7; PCN: 5.6). Test characteristics for crossing 2 increasing major percentile lines were: sensitivity (CDC: 60%; WHO: 40%; PCN: 31%), PPV (CDC: 0.2%; WHO: 0.1%; PCN: 0.2%), and LR+ (CDC: 1.3; WHO: 1.1; PCN: 1.5).
Commonly used HC percentile thresholds had low sensitivity and low positive predictive value for diagnosing new pathology associated with head enlargement in children in a primary care network.
How parents of children with life threatening conditions draw upon religion, spirituality, or life philosophy is not empirically well described.
Participants were parents of children who had enrolled in a prospective cohort study on parental decision-making for children receiving pediatric palliative care. Sixty-four (88%) of the 73 parents interviewed were asked an open-ended question on how religion, spirituality, or life philosophy (RSLP) was helpful in difficult times. Responses were coded and thematically organized utilizing qualitative data analysis methods. Any discrepancies amongst coders regarding codes or themes were resolved through discussion that reached consensus.
Most parents of children receiving palliative care felt that RSLP was important in helping them deal with tough times, and most parents reported either participation in formal religious communities, or a sense of personal spirituality. A minority of parents, however, did not wish to discuss the topic at all. For those who described their RSLP, their beliefs and practices were associated with qualities of their overall outlook on life, questions of goodness and human capacity, or that “everything happens for a reason.” RSLP was also important in defining the child's value and beliefs about the child's afterlife. Prayer and reading the bible were important spiritual practices in this population, and parents felt that these practices influenced their perspectives on the medical circumstances and decision-making, and their locus of control. From religious participation and practices, parents felt they received support from both their spiritual communities and from God, peace and comfort, and moral guidance. Some parents, however, also reported questioning their faith, feelings of anger and blame towards God, and rejecting religious beliefs or communities.
RSLP play a diverse and important role in the lives of most, but not all, parents whose children are receiving pediatric palliative care.
The work of care for parents of children with complex special health care needs may be increasing, while excessive work demands may erode the quality of care. We sought to summarize knowledge and develop a general conceptual model of the work of care.
Systematic review of peer-reviewed journal articles that focused on parents of children with special health care needs and addressed factors related to the physical and emotional work of providing care for these children. From the large pool of eligible articles, we selected articles in a randomized sequence, using qualitative techniques to identify the conceptual components of the work of care and their relationship to the family system.
The work of care for a child with special health care needs occurs within a dynamic system that comprises 5 core components: (1) performance of tasks such as monitoring symptoms or administering treatments, (2) the occurrence of various events and the pursuit of valued outcomes regarding the child's physical health, the parent's mental health, or other attributes of the child or family, (3) operating with available resources and within certain constraints (4) over the passage of time, (5) while mentally representing or depicting the ever-changing situation and detecting possible problems and opportunities. These components interact, some with simple cause-effect relationships and others with more complex interdependencies.
The work of care affecting the health of children with special health care needs and their families can best be understood, studied, and managed as a multilevel complex system.
To describe variation regarding inpatient therapy and evaluation of children with Henoch Schönlein purpura (HSP) admitted to children’s hospitals across the United States.
We conducted a retrospective cohort study of children discharged with a diagnosis of HSP between 2000 and 2007 using inpatient administrative data from 36 children’s hospitals. We examined variation among hospitals in the use of medications, diagnostic tests, and intensive care services using multivariate mixed effects logistic regression models.
During the initial HSP hospitalization (N=1,988), corticosteroids were the most common medication (56% of cases), followed by opioids (36%), NSAIDs (35%), and anti-hypertensives (11%). After adjustment for patient characteristics, hospitals varied significantly in their use of corticosteroids, opioids, and NSAIDs; the use of diagnostic abdominal imaging, endoscopy, laboratory testing, and renal biopsy; and the utilization of intensive care services. By contrast, hospitals did not differ significantly regarding administration of anti-hypertensives or performance of skin biopsy.
The significant variation identified may contribute to varying HSP clinical outcomes between hospitals, warrants further investigation, and represents a potentially important opportunity to improve quality of care.
opioids; corticosteroids; anti-hypertensives; non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs; adolescents; epidemiology
Hospitalized children are perceived to be increasingly medically complex, but no such trend has been documented. The objective of this study was to determine whether the proportion of pediatric inpatient use that is attributable to patients with a diagnosis of one or more complex chronic condition (CCC) has increased over time and to assess the degree to which CCC hospitalizations are associated with attributes that are consistent with heightened medical complexity.
A retrospective observational study that used the 1997, 2000, 2003, and 2006 Kids Inpatient Databases examined US hospitalizations for children. Attributes of medical complexity included hospital admissions, length of stay, total charges, technology-assistance procedures, and mortality risk.
The proportion of inpatient pediatric admissions, days, and charges increased from 1997 to 2006 for any CCC and for every CCC group except hematology. CCCs accounted for 8.9% of US pediatric admissions in 1997 and 10.1% of admissions in 2006. These admissions used 22.7% to 26.1% of pediatric hospital days, used 37.1% to 40.6% of pediatric hospital charges, accounted for 41.9% to 43.2% of deaths, and (for 2006) used 73% to 92% of different forms of technology-assistance procedures. As the number of CCCs for a given admission increased, all markers of use increased.
CCC-associated hospitalizations compose an increasing proportion of inpatient care and resource use. Future research should seek to improve methods to identify the population of medically complex children, monitor their increasing inpatient use, and assess whether current systems of care are meeting their needs.
child health services; health care delivery/access; health services research; hospitalization; children with special needs
Recent changes to Medicaid policy may have unintended consequences in the education system. This study estimated the potential financial impact of the Deficit Reduction Act (DRA) on school districts by calculating Medicaid-reimbursed behavioral health care expenditures for school-aged children in general and children in special education in particular.
Medicaid claims and special education records of youth ages 6 to 18 years in Philadelphia, PA, were merged for calendar year 2002. Behavioral health care volume, type, and expenditures were compared between Medicaid-enrolled children receiving and not receiving special education.
Significant overlap existed among the 126,533 children who were either Medicaid enrolled (114,257) or received special education (27,620). Medicaid-reimbursed behavioral health care was used by 21% of children receiving special education (37% of those Medicaid enrolled) and 15% of other Medicaid-enrolled children. Total expenditures were $197.8 million, 40% of which was spent on the 5728 children in special education and 60% of which was spent on 15,092 other children.
Medicaid-reimbursed behavioral health services disproportionately support special education students, with expenditures equivalent to 4% of Philadelphia’s $2 billion education budget. The results suggest that special education programs depend on Medicaid-reimbursed services, the financing of which the DRA may jeopardize.
Medicaid; special education; mental health; policy; Deficit Reduction Act
The objective of this study was to compare on a national cohort of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) the concurrent use of ≥3 psychotropic medications between children in foster care and children who have disabilities and receive Supplemental Security Income, and to describe variation among states in the use of these medications by children in foster care.
Studied was the concurrent use of ≥3 classes of psychotropic medications, identified from the 2001 Medicaid claims of 43 406 children who were aged 3 to 18 years and had ≥1 annual claim for ASD. Medicaid enrollment as a child in foster care versus a child with disabilities was compared. Multilevel logistic regression, clustered at the state level and controlling for demographics and comorbidities, yielded standardized (adjusted) estimates of concurrent use of ≥3 medications and estimated variation in medication use within states that exceeded 1 and 2 SDs from the average across states.
Among children in foster care, 20.8% used ≥3 classes of medication concurrently, compared with 10.1% of children who were classified as having a disability. Differences grew in relationship to overall use of medications within a state; for every 5% increase in concurrent use of ≥3 medication classes by a state’s population with disabilities, such use by children in a state’s foster care population increased by 8.3%. Forty-three percent (22) of states were >1 SD from the adjusted mean for children who were using ≥3 medications concurrently, and 14% (7) of the states exceeded 2 SDs.
Among children with ASD, children in foster care were more likely to use ≥3 medications concurrently than children with disabilities. State-level differences underscore policy or programmatic differences that might affect the receipt of medications in this population.
autism; foster care; psychotropic drugs; Medicaid
The study of how the quality of pediatric end of life care varies across systems of healthcare delivery and financing is hampered by lack of methods to adjust for the probability of death in populations of ill children.
To develop a prognostication model using administratively available data to predict the probability of in-hospital and 1-year-post-discharge death.
Retrospective cohort study of 0-21 year old patients admitted to Pennsylvania hospitals from 1994-2001 and followed for 1-year post-discharge mortality, assessing logistic regression models ability to predict in-hospital and 1-year-post-discharge-deaths.
Among 678,365 subjects there were 2,202 deaths that occurred during the hospitalization (0.32% of cohort) and 860 deaths that occurred ≤ 365 days after hospital discharge (0.13% of cohort). The model predicting hospitalization deaths exhibited a c-statistic of 0.91, with sensitivity of 65.9% and specificity of 92.9% at the 99th percentile cutpoint; while the model predicting 1-year-post-discharge-deaths exhibited a c-statistic of 0.92, with sensitivity of 56.1% and specificity of 98.4% at the 99th percentile cutpoint.
Population-level mortality prognostication of hospitalized children using administratively available data is feasible, assisting the comparison of healthcare services delivered to children with the highest probability of dying during and after a hospital admission.
The study of how the quality of pediatric end-of-life care varies across systems of health care delivery and financing is hampered by lack of methods to adjust for the probability of death in populations of ill children.
To develop a prognostication models using administratively available data to predict the probability of in-hospital and 1-year postdischarge death.
Retrospective cohort study of 0–21 year old patients admitted to Pennsylvania hospitals from 1994–2001 and followed for 1-year postdischarge mortality, assessing logistic regression models ability to predict in-hospital and 1-year postdischarge deaths.
Among 678,365 subjects there were 2,202 deaths that occurred during the hospitalization (0.32% of cohort) and 860 deaths that occurred 365 days or less after hospital discharge (0.13% of cohort). The model predicting hospitalization deaths exhibited a C statistic of 0.91, with sensitivity of 65.9% and specificity of 92.9% at the 99th percentile cutpoint; while the model predicting 1-year postdischarge deaths exhibited a C statistic of 0.92, with sensitivity of 56.1% and specificity of 98.4% at the 99th percentile cutpoint.
Population-level mortality prognostication of hospitalized children using administratively available data is feasible, assisting the comparison of health care services delivered to children with the highest probability of dying during and after a hospital admission.
Children with complex chronic conditions depend upon both their families and systems of pediatric health care, social services, and financing. Investigations into the workings of this ecology of care would be advanced by more accurate methods of population-level predictions of the likelihood for future hospitalization.
Retrospective cohort study.
Hospital administrative data collected from 38 children's hospitals in the United States for the years 2003-2005.
Patients between 2 and 18 years of age discharged from an index hospitalization during 2004.
Patient characteristics documented during the index hospitalization or any prior hospitalization during the preceding 365 days.
Main Outcome Measures
Readmission to the hospital during the 365 days after discharge from the index admission.
Among the cohort comprised of 186,856 patients discharged from the participating hospitals during 2004, the mean age was 9.2 years, with 54.4% male and 52.9% identified as non-Hispanic white. 17.4% had been admitted during the previous 365 days, and among those discharged alive (0.6% died during the admission), 16.7% were readmitted during the ensuing 365 days. The final readmission model exhibited a C-statistic of 0.81 across all hospitals, with a range from 0.76 to 0.84 for each hospital. Bootstrap-based assessments demonstrated the stability of the final model.
Accurate population-level prediction of hospital readmissions is possible, and the resulting predicted probability of hospital readmission may prove useful for health services research and planning.
pediatric; child; chronic conditions; hospital readmission; prediction model; longitudinal observational study
In an ideal world, all of us – patients, parents, family members, nurses, physicians, social workers, therapists, pastoral care workers, and others – would always work together in a collaborative manner to provide the best care possible to the patient: this article is committed to this ideal. The chapter will base the frameworks and suggestions in part upon studies of communication between patients, families, and clinicians, as well as more general works on communication, collaboration, decision-making, mediation, and ethics.
This article unfolds in four parts. In Part I, we will explore what we mean by collaborative communication. In Part II, we will examine key concepts that influence how we frame the situations that children with life-threatening conditions confront and how these frameworks shape the care we provide. In Part III, we will consider a few general topics that are quite important to the task of collaborative communication, specifically how we use little “habits of thought”– called heuristics – when we set about to solve complicated problems; how emotion affects the exchange of information between people; and how we can avoid certain pitfalls when engaging in difficult conversations. In Part IV, we will proceed through three common tasks of collaborative communication offering practical advice for patient care.
communication; decisionmaking; end of life
To identify systematic problems in coordinating care for inner-city minority youth with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Focus group study.
We recruited participants from inner-city minority communities in a single metropolitan area. We held separate meetings for pediatricians, mental health therapists, school staff, and parents (both African-American and Latino).
We audiotaped and transcribed the meetings. We identified themes by consensus and used Root Cause Analysis as a conceptual framework to guide our analysis.
We held 13 focus group meetings. Participants uniformly perceived insufficient communication and coordination of care. Five themes representing system and human factors emerged that contributed to this fragmentation in care: 1) a lack of consensus about who should oversee care; 2) changes in health care providers or teachers; 3) uncertainty in the diagnosis, insufficient training, and few resources; 4) distrust and blame that emerged when relationships among people caring for the child were absent or otherwise inadequate; 5) lack of support from employers, friends, and family to engage in collaborative care.
Using a Root Cause Analysis framework, we identified system- and human-level factors that were perceived to impede communication and coordination of care for this population of children with ADHD. These results suggest that better organizational policies that define provider responsibilities and accountability, support the coordination of care, bridge relationships between agencies, and provide additional education and resources may improve collaboration. Further study is needed to assess the generalizability of these finding to other settings.
attention deficit disorder with hyperactivity; children; qualitative research
Advances in medical technology may be increasing the population of children who are technology-dependent (TD). We assessed the proportion of children discharged from a children's hospital who are judged to be TD, and determined the most common devices and number of prescription medications at the time of discharge.
Chart review of 100 randomly selected patients from all services discharged from a children's hospital during the year 2000. Data were reviewed independently by 4 investigators who classified the cases as TD if the failure or withdrawal of the technology would likely have adverse health consequences sufficient to require hospitalization. Only those cases where 3 or 4 raters agreed were classified as TD.
Among the 100 randomly sampled patients, the median age was 7 years (range: 1 day to 24 years old), 52% were male, 86% primarily spoke English, and 54% were privately insured. The median length of stay was 3 days (range: 1 to 103 days). No diagnosis accounted for more than 5% of cases. 41% were deemed to be technology dependent, with 20% dependent upon devices, 32% dependent upon medications, and 11% dependent upon both devices and medications. Devices at the time of discharge included gastrostomy and jejeunostomy tubes (10%), central venous catheters (7%), and tracheotomies (1%). The median number of prescription medications was 2 (range: 0–13), with 12% of cases having 5 or more medications. Home care services were planned for 7% of cases.
Technology-dependency is common among children discharged from a children's hospital.
Despite abundant bereavement care options, consensus is lacking regarding optimal care for bereaved persons.
We conducted a systematic review, searching MEDLINE, PsychINFO, CINAHL, EBMR, and other databases using the terms (bereaved or bereavement) and (grief) combined with (intervention or support or counselling or therapy) and (controlled or trial or design). We also searched citations in published reports for additional pertinent studies. Eligible studies had to evaluate whether the treatment of bereaved individuals reduced bereavement-related symptoms. Data from the studies was abstracted independently by two reviewers.
74 eligible studies evaluated diverse treatments designed to ameliorate a variety of outcomes associated with bereavement. Among studies utilizing a structured therapeutic relationship, eight featured pharmacotherapy (4 included an untreated control group), 39 featured support groups or counselling (23 included a control group), and 25 studies featured cognitive-behavioural, psychodynamic, psychoanalytical, or interpersonal therapies (17 included a control group). Seven studies employed systems-oriented interventions (all had control groups). Other than efficacy for pharmacological treatment of bereavement-related depression, we could identify no consistent pattern of treatment benefit among the other forms of interventions.
Due to a paucity of reports on controlled clinical trails, no rigorous evidence-based recommendation regarding the treatment of bereaved persons is currently possible except for the pharmacologic treatment of depression. We postulate the following five factors as impeding scientific progress regarding bereavement care interventions: 1) excessive theoretical heterogeneity, 2) stultifying between-study variation, 3) inadequate reporting of intervention procedures, 4) few published replication studies, and 5) methodological flaws of study design.
Bereavement; intervention; systematic review
To help design population-based pediatric palliative care services, we sought to describe the hospital care received in the last year of life by children and young adults who died. We also determined the proportion with complex chronic conditions (CCCs) and tested whether the use of hospital services increased as the date of death drew nearer.
For all deaths occurring under 25 years of age from 1990 to 1996 in Washington State, USA, we linked death certificate information to hospital utilization records and analyzed the timing and duration of hospitalizations and the nature of hospital procedures during the year prior to death.
Of the 8 893 deaths, 25 % had CCCs. Among infants with CCCs, 84 % were hospitalized at the time of death and 50 % had been mechanically ventilated during their terminal admission. Among the 458 CCC neonates dying under a week of age, 92% of all days of life were spent in the hospital; among the 172 CCC neonates dying during the second to fourth weeks of life, 85 % of all days of life were spent hospitalized; among the 286 CCC infants dying during the second to twelfth month of life, 41 % of all days of life were spent hospitalized. Among children and young adults with CCCs, 55 % were hospitalized at the time of death, and 19 % had been mechanically ventilated during their terminal admission. For these older patients, the median number of days spent in the hospital during the year preceding death was 18, yet less than a third of this group was hospitalized at any point in time until the last week of their lives. The rate of hospital use increased as death drew near. For subjects who had received hospital care, 44 % had governmental insurance as the source of primary payment.
Infants who died spent a substantial proportion of their lives in hospitals, whereas children and adolescents who died from CCCs predominantly lived outside of the hospital during the last year of life. To serve these patients, pediatric palliative and end-of-life care will have to be provided in an integrated, coordinated manner both in hospitals and home communities.
Ethics education aims to train physicians to identify and resolve ethical issues. To address ethical concerns, physicians may need to confront each other. We surveyed medical students to determine if their comfort challenging members of their ward teams about ethical issues varies by specialty and what attributes of students and their teams contributed to that comfort. Compared to other specialties, students felt significantly less comfortable challenging team members about ethical issues on surgery and obstetrics/gynecology. We suggest that ethics education must address the atmosphere on ward teams and give students skills to help them speak out despite their discomfort.
medical ethics; ethics education; medical education; medical; undergraduate communication