Media Watch 505

Speaking a different language: A qualitative analysis comparing language of palliative care and pediatric intensive care unit physicians


AMERICAN JOURNAL OF HOSPICE & PALLIATIVE MEDICINE | Online – 21 March 2017 – Family conferences in the pediatric intensive care unit (ICU) often include palliative care (PC) providers. We do not know how ICU communication differs when the PC team is present. Nine ICU physicians and 4 PC providers participated in 18 audio-recorded family conferences. Of the 9 transcripts without the PC team, the authors identified 526 ICU physician statements, generating 10 thematic categories. The most common themes were giving medical information and discussing medical options. Themes unique to ICU physicians included statements of hopelessness, insensitivity, and “health-care provider challenges.” Among the 9 transcripts with the PC team, there were 280 statements, generating 10 thematic categories. Most commonly, the PC team offered statements of support, giving medical information, and quality of life. Both teams promoted family engagement by soliciting questions; however, the PC team was more likely to use open-ended questions, offer support, and discuss quality of life.