The Benefits and Burdens of Pediatric Palliative Care and End-of-Life Research: A Systematic Review

Meaghann S. Weaver, Kim Mooney-Doyle, Katherine Patterson Kelly, Kathleen Montgomery, Amy R. Newman, Christine A. Fortney, Cynthia J. Bell, Jessica L. Spruit, Melissa Kurtz Uveges, Lori Wiener, Cynthia M. Schmidt, Vanessa N. Madrigal, Pamela S. Hinds

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Objective: The aim of this study is to report the benefits and burdens of palliative research participation on children, siblings, parents, clinicians, and researchers. Background: Pediatric palliative care requires research to mature the science and improve interventions. A tension exists between the desire to enhance palliative and end-of-life care for children and their families and the need to protect these potentially vulnerable populations from untoward burdens. Methods: Systematic review followed PRISMA guidelines with prepared protocol registered as PROSPERO #CRD42018087304. MEDLINE, CINAHL, PsycINFO, EMBASE, Scopus, and The Cochrane Library were searched (2000-2017). English-language studies depicting the benefits or burdens of palliative care or end-of-life research participation on either pediatric patients and/or their family members, clinicians, or study teams were eligible for inclusion. Study quality was appraised using the Mixed Methods Appraisal Tool (MMAT). Results: Twenty-four studies met final inclusion criteria. The benefit or burden of palliative care research participation was reported for the child in 6 papers; siblings in 2; parents in 19; clinicians in 3; and researchers in 5 papers. Benefits were more heavily emphasized by patients and family members, whereas burdens were more prominently emphasized by researchers and clinicians. No paper utilized a validated benefit/burden scale. Discussion: The lack of published exploration into the benefits and burdens of those asked to take part in pediatric palliative care research and those conducting the research is striking. There is a need for implementation of a validated benefit/burden instrument or interview measure as part of pediatric palliative and end-of-life research design and reporting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)915-926
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Palliative Medicine
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2019


  • benefits and burdens
  • palliative care research
  • pediatric palliative care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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