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Improving the outcomes for critically ill children

Workshop hashtag: #PaediatricSTOA



Written by Gianluca Quaglio and Sarah McCormack,

Improving the outcomes for critically ill children

Shutterstock/Anna Jurkovska

Major progress has been made in the care of critically ill children since paediatric intensive care units (PICUs) were implemented in the 1960s in Europe. Despite this progress, mortality and morbidity rates in PICU have not significantly improved in the last decade.

At present there is little data on long-term outcomes after paediatric intensive care stays, and data to validate and benchmark the quality of PICU services is not currently collected in many EU Member States. Without this baseline data, policy-makers, healthcare managers and clinicians lack a solid basis for quality improvement efforts and related allocation of resources.

A systematic approach to determine the clinical realities of PICUs is urgently needed, with a minimal dataset including structure, process and outcome measures. Data regarding the units, workforce and individual patients must be gathered. Parent satisfaction should also be evaluated and strategies need to be devised in order to deploy the right mix of skills in the workforce. These benchmarking activities would make a major contribution to efforts to raise standards of care.

To further improve the impact of paediatric and neonatal intensive care on child survival and their health, two further domains need to be developed at a European and international level:

  • Integrated care pathways are needed for the critically ill child – that is, not just limited to the intensive care phase, but also extending from the period before the PICU to the aftercare following the intensive care stay.
  • Structural changes to the healthcare system are needed, for example, by regionalisation of high-tech providers and analysis of the effects of best practices, as revealed by a data registry.

A workshop, organised by the European Parliament’s Science and Technology Options Assessment Panel (STOA) on 29 June 2016 will bring these topics to the attention of policy-makers. The workshop will highlight inequalities and inequities arising from differing standards of clinical practice, and propose solutions to ensure that critically ill children, their families and wider society benefit from innovation and advances in paediatric research and care.

The European Society of Paediatric and Neonatal Intensive Care (ESPNIC) is co-organising the workshop. ESPNIC is leading the way in many quality improvement initiatives. Recently, ESPNIC has led the development of the first internationally recognised diploma in paediatric intensive care, the European Diploma in Paediatric Intensive Care (EPIC). This was done in collaboration with the European Union of Medical Specialists and the Council of European Specialist Medical Assessment.

To register for the event and for program information please click here.

#PaediatricSTOA hashtag

About Scientific Foresight (STOA)

The Scientific Foresight Unit (STOA) carries out interdisciplinary research and provides strategic advice in the field of science and technology options assessment and scientific foresight. It undertakes in-depth studies and organises workshops on developments in these fields, and it hosts the European Science-Media Hub (ESMH), a platform to promote networking, training and knowledge sharing between the EP, the scientific community and the media. All this work is carried out under the guidance of the Panel for the Future of Science and Technology (STOA), composed of 27 MEPs nominated by 11 EP Committees. The STOA Panel forms an integral part of the structure of the EP.


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