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Monday 24th October 2016

NHS failing dying children

1st May 2007

Researchers from a leading children’s hospital have said that too few dying children are receiving the palliative care they need.


The team at Great Ormond Street Hospital found that the number of critically ill children dying in intensive care has increased over the last decade. The Journal of Medical Ethics study suggests that the guidance on managing symptoms as opposed to invasive care is not being adhered to by doctors meaning that many children are dying on wards rather than in more peaceful palliative surroundings.

Following treatment guidance for seriously ill children published by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health ten years ago, researchers wanted to see how it was being put into practise.  They found that the number of children dying in intensive care had risen from 80% in 1997 to 91% in 2004.  While the overall death rates in the seven year period did not really change, the numbers of children dying in intensive care (rather than on a general ward or at home) also rose from 15% to 25%.

Paediatrician Padmanabhan Ramnarayan said it was clear that guidelines were not being followed adding, "For the individual child and parents, the experience of death is more unpleasant when it occurs within the circumstances of intensive care, multiple painful procedures, sedation, paralysis and other complications of intensive care stay.â€?  He suggested that one solution may be to enlist palliative care teams to enable children to die more peacefully at home.


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