Journal of palliative medicine 2016 11 0420(2) 120-126 doi 10.1089/jpm.2016.0070
Alternative locations for children near end of life (EOL) are lacking in the United States with deaths largely occurring within intensive care units (ICUs). The reflection room (RR) was implemented as a relevant space for providing this care in our hospital.
We hypothesized staff would report a positive experience in providing EOL and/or postmortem (PM) care here and would recommend this to peers.
This explorative study summarized room use data and evaluated staff experiences using a voluntary qualitative and quantitative survey.
The survey was administered to the inpatient interdisciplinary team.
From 2011 to 2014, 116 children used the RR, 64% for PM care, and 34% for EOL care. A total of 201 staff responded to the survey. Of them, 90% described the space as a valuable resource to families, 90% reported a preference for using this location versus a hospital unit, and 93% stated they would encourage their peers to do the same. Advantages listed were increased privacy, allowance for more visitors, and a quieter, calmer environment. Challenges included distance from the unit of transfer, managing assignments in two hospital locations, and medication transportation. Overall, there was a measureable decrease in the number of deaths pronounced in the ICU as the number pronounced in the RR increased, illustrating a significant change in practice.
This study demonstrated an overwhelmingly positive experience in providing EOL and/or PM care to children in the RR and staff would recommend this to peers. This model of care should be a serious consideration for hospitals in the United States.