Children with life-threatening illnesses need the best pediatric palliative care (PPC) possible. Therefore, understanding the quality improvement (QI) efforts of PPC physicians and programs is crucial as PPC provision grows. For a study, researchers sought to describe the national perceptions of QI background, education/training, and activities, and QI initiatives perceived hurdles among PPC doctors and programs.

Research to create hospital-based, primary PPC quality metrics was conducted, and participants included members of the Pediatric Palliative Improvement Network, the National Coalition for Hospice and Palliative Care Pediatric Task Force, and the PPC Research Network. Participants’ backgrounds, education and training, individual and team QI efforts, and obstacles to QI work were all questioned in surveys. Results were described in summary.

Of the 95 responders, 84 (88%) were female, and 84 (88%) were white despite participation coming from a range of clinical specialties, investigators (10 [9%], and administrators (6 [6%]), physicians made up the majority (57 [54%]). Despite two-thirds (63 [66%]) participating in QI work, one-quarter (25 [26%]) claimed to have had <10 hours of overall QI training. Over half (56 [59%] of participants] indicated that their team participated in QI work, whereas around one-third (35 [37%]) said that their program lacked a designated staff member for QI activities. Participants identified many hurdles, including a lack of staff or time, standard measurements or instruments, mentorship or education in quality assurance, systems to support quality assurance work, funding, and grants.

Despite having little personnel or time, no formal QI training, or defined metrics, more than half of PPC study participants reported engaging in QI efforts, which poses difficulties for the task.