A Qualitative Study Describing Pediatric Palliative Care in Non-Metropolitan Areas of Illinois

Patrick Murday*, Kimberly Downing, Erin Gaab, Jennifer Misasi, Kelly N. Michelson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: There is little information about providing pediatric palliative care (PPC) in non-metropolitan areas. Objective: Describe the strengths of and challenges to delivering PPC in non-metropolitan communities and identify opportunities to improve care delivery. Design: A qualitative study involving focus groups (FGs) with PPC stakeholders. Setting/Participants: From 4 non-metropolitan areas in Illinois, we recruited 3 stakeholder groups: healthcare providers (HPs); bereaved parents; and parents caring for a seriously ill child (SIC). Measurements: At each site, we held an FG with people of the same stakeholder group and then an FG involving all stakeholders. Discussion topics included: availability and strengths of local PPC services, barriers to local PPC, opportunities for improving local PPC access and quality, and clinician educational needs. We analyzed data using phenomenology and directed content analysis. Results: Thirty people, 12 parents and 18 HPs, participated in FGs. Identified themes related to: PPC perceptions; availability and use of local resources; and challenges associated with travel, care coordination, and finances. Participants described benefits of and limits to local PPC including pediatric-specific issues such as attending to siblings, creating child peer-support activities, providing school guidance, and financing for PPC. Recommendations included suggestions to enhance care coordination, use existing resources, improve community and provider education, develop community networks, and minimize financial challenges. Conclusion: Unique PPC challenges exist in non-metropolitan areas. PPC in non-metropolitan areas would benefit from enhancing local resource utilization and quality. Future work should address the challenges to providing PPC in non-metropolitan areas with a focus on pediatric-specific issues.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)18-26
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Hospice and Palliative Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2022


  • end-of-life care
  • hospice
  • non-metropolitan communities
  • palliative care
  • pediatrics
  • rural communities

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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