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domains, guidelines, pediatric palliative care, team composition, terminology



  1. Rost, Michael MSc, MA
  2. De Clercq, Eva PhD
  3. Wangmo, Tenzin PhD
  4. Elger, Bernice S. MD, MA


Conceptual confusion is a primary barrier to providing quality palliative care. This study aimed to analyze pediatric palliative care (PPC) guidelines from a conceptual perspective to facilitate a shared understanding of palliative care in pediatrics. Five online databases were searched systematically, in addition to a Google search. Analysis focused on the language used to determine the domains of PPC and on the composition of the PPC team. Guidelines express consensus on 4 core domains: physical, psychological, social, and spiritual care. However, conceptual vagueness exists with respect to the latter 3 because terminology is used inconsistently both within and across guidelines. An inconsistent use of terminology affects the quality of PPC nursing in various ways. Therefore, a shared understanding and unambiguous language must be envisaged. Furthermore, although guidelines agree on the most prominent team members, they do not clearly indicate how these occupational groups should collaborate.