Considering quality of life in end-of-life decisions for severely disabled children

I. H. Zaal-Schuller, D. L. Willems, F. V.P.M. Ewals, J. B. van Goudoever, M. A. de Vos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Background End-of-life decisions (EoLDs) are very difficult to make. How parents and physicians incorporate quality of life (QoL) considerations into their end-of-life decision making (EoLDM) for children with profound intellectual and multiple disabilities (PIMD) remains unknown. Aims To determine which elements contribute to QoL according to parents and physicians, how QoL is incorporated into EoLDM and how parents and physicians discuss QoL considerations in the Netherlands. Methods Semi-structured interviews were conducted with the physicians and parents of 14 children with PIMD for whom an EoLD had been made within the past two years. Results Parents and physicians agreed on the main elements that contribute to QoL in children with PIMD. The way in which QoL was incorporated differed slightly for different types of decisions. Parents and physicians rarely discussed elements contributing to the child's QoL when making EoLDS. Conclusions and Implications Although QoL was highly important during EoLDM for children with PIMD, parents and physicians did not fully explore the elements that contribute to the child's QoL when they made EoLDs. We recommend the development of a communication tool that will help parents and physicians discuss elements that contribute to QoL and the consequences these elements have for upcoming decisions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67-75
Number of pages9
JournalResearch in Developmental Disabilities
Volume73
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2018

Cite this

Zaal-Schuller, I. H. ; Willems, D. L. ; Ewals, F. V.P.M. ; van Goudoever, J. B. ; de Vos, M. A. / Considering quality of life in end-of-life decisions for severely disabled children. In: Research in Developmental Disabilities. 2018 ; Vol. 73. pp. 67-75.
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abstract = "Background End-of-life decisions (EoLDs) are very difficult to make. How parents and physicians incorporate quality of life (QoL) considerations into their end-of-life decision making (EoLDM) for children with profound intellectual and multiple disabilities (PIMD) remains unknown. Aims To determine which elements contribute to QoL according to parents and physicians, how QoL is incorporated into EoLDM and how parents and physicians discuss QoL considerations in the Netherlands. Methods Semi-structured interviews were conducted with the physicians and parents of 14 children with PIMD for whom an EoLD had been made within the past two years. Results Parents and physicians agreed on the main elements that contribute to QoL in children with PIMD. The way in which QoL was incorporated differed slightly for different types of decisions. Parents and physicians rarely discussed elements contributing to the child's QoL when making EoLDS. Conclusions and Implications Although QoL was highly important during EoLDM for children with PIMD, parents and physicians did not fully explore the elements that contribute to the child's QoL when they made EoLDs. We recommend the development of a communication tool that will help parents and physicians discuss elements that contribute to QoL and the consequences these elements have for upcoming decisions.",
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Considering quality of life in end-of-life decisions for severely disabled children. / Zaal-Schuller, I. H.; Willems, D. L.; Ewals, F. V.P.M.; van Goudoever, J. B.; de Vos, M. A.

In: Research in Developmental Disabilities, Vol. 73, 01.02.2018, p. 67-75.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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