Lorna Fraser has been awarded a three-year postdoctoral fellowship from the NIHR, for a project entitled “Children and Young People with Life-Limiting Conditions and Hospital Admissions to Paediatric Intensive Care Units in England: the Development of a Clinical Scoring System”.
Growing numbers of children in England are suffering with medical conditions that will shorten their lives (life-limiting conditions (LLCs)). Many of these children have repeated hospital admissions, some require intensive care treatment, and many of these children will die in paediatric intensive care (PICU). Admission to hospital, and especially paediatric intensive care, has many implications for the child and family, including emotional, practical and financial aspects, as well as resource use for the NHS.
For some of these critically ill children, admission to PICU is not in the child’s best interest, and they may be better cared for by other services, for example paediatric palliative care services. If these children could be identified, it would enable better clinical decision making, informed choice for the families and may make more efficient use of services in the NHS. Enabling families a greater choice in the place of care or place of death for their child may enable the ‘good death’ that they hope for and may also help the family’s longer term adjustment to the death.
This project will use routinely collected data to describe what happens to children with LLCs admitted to paediatric intensive care, and develop a scoring system which may help identify those children who would benefit from PICU and those who may receive more appropriate palliative care in a different healthcare setting.