Death and Dying in Hospitalized Pediatric Patients: A Prospective Multicenter, Multinational Study

Jessica Nicoll, Karen Dryden-Palmer, Helena Frndova, Ronald Gottesman, Martin Gray, Elizabeth A. Hunt, James S. Hutchison, Ari R. Joffe, Jacques Lacroix, Kristen Middaugh, Vinay Nadkarni, Leah Szadkowski, George A. Tomlinson, David Wensley, Chris S. Parshuram, Catherine Farrell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: For hospitalized children admitted outside of a critical care unit, the location, mode of death, "do-not-resuscitate"order (DNR) use, and involvement of palliative care teams have not been described across high-income countries. Objective: To describe location of death, patient and terminal care plan characteristics of pediatric inpatient deaths inside and outside the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU). Design: Secondary analysis of inpatient deaths in the Evaluating Processes of Care and Outcomes of Children in Hospital (EPOCH) randomized controlled trial. Setting/Subjects: Twenty-one centers from Canada, Belgium, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, and New Zealand. Measurement: Descriptive statistics were used to compare patient and terminal care plan characteristics. A multivariable generalized estimating equation examined if palliative care consult during hospital admission was associated with location of death. Results: A total of 365 of 144,539 patients enrolled in EPOCH died; 219 (60%) died in PICU and 143 (40%) died on another inpatient unit. Compared with other inpatient wards, patients who died in PICU were less likely to be expected to die, have a DNR or palliative care consult. Hospital palliative care consultation was more common in older children and independently associated with a lower adjusted odds (95% confidence interval) of dying in PICU [0.59 (0.52-0.68)]. Conclusion: Most pediatric inpatient deaths occur in PICU where patients were less likely to have a DNR or palliative care consult. Palliative care consultation could be better integrated into end-of-life care for younger children and those dying in PICU.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)227-233
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of palliative medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2022


  • Children
  • Critical care
  • Inpatient
  • Palliative care
  • Pediatric

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Death and Dying in Hospitalized Pediatric Patients: A Prospective Multicenter, Multinational Study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this