Decision-making experiences of health professionals in withdrawing treatment for children and young people: a qualitative study

Shanara Abdin, Gemma Heath, Sue Neilson, James Byron-Daniel, Nic Hooper

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Abstract

Objective
To explore factors that influence professionals in deciding whether to withdraw treatment from a child and how decision making is managed amongst professionals as an individual and as a team.

Study Design
Semi-structured interviews were conducted with a purposive sample of health professionals working at a UK Children's Hospital, with children with life-limiting illnesses whose treatment has been withdrawn. Data were transcribed verbatim, anonymized and analysed using a thematic framework method.

Results
A total of 15 participants were interviewed. Five interrelated themes with associated subthemes were generated to help understand the experiences of health professionals in decision making on withdrawing a child's treatment: (1) understanding the child's best interests, (2) multidisciplinary approach, (3) external factors, (4) psychological well-being and (5) recommendations to support shared decision making.

Conclusion
A shared decision-making approach should be adopted to support professionals, children and their families to make decisions collectively.
Original languageEnglish
JournalChild: Care, Health & Development
Early online date6 Jan 2022
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 6 Jan 2022

Keywords

  • decision making
  • healthcare
  • professionals
  • treatment

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