Resuscitation plans (RP) are an important clinical indicator relating to care at the end of life in paediatrics. A retrospective review of the medical records of children who had been referred to the Royal Children’s Hospital, Brisbane, Australia who died in the calendar year 2011 was performed. Of 62 records available, 40 patients (65%) had a life limiting condition and 43 medical records (69%) contained a documented RP. This study demonstrated that both the underlying condition (life-limiting or life-threatening) and the setting of care (Pediatric Intensive Care Unit or home) influenced the development of resuscitation plans. Patients referred to the paediatric palliative care (PPC) service had a significantly longer time interval from documentation of a resuscitation plan to death and were more likely to die at home. All of the patients who died in the paediatric intensive care unit (PICU) had a RP that was documented within the last 48 h of life. Most RPs were not easy to locate. Documentation of discussions related to resuscitation planning should accommodate patient and family centered care based on individual needs. With varied diagnoses and settings of care, it is important that there is inter-professional collaboration, particularly involving PICU and PPC services, in developing protocols of how to manage this difficult but inevitable clinical scenario.
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