New Zealand Guidelines go live

This article originally appeared in ehospice

Dr Emily Chang, a paediatrician with the Starship Paediatric Palliative Care Team, reports on the launch of the Clinical Guidelines for End of Life care for babies, children and young people in New Zealand. This great new resource is available to anyone and provides practical ‘on the ground’ advice.

The New Zealand paediatric palliative care community is pleased to announce the launch of their Clinical Guidelines for End of life care for babies, children and young people in New Zealand. This resource is freely available on the internet and cover a range of clinical situations. Among the topics covered are: sharing significant news, planning care, psychosocial care, palliative care emergencies, and management of pain and other distressing symptoms. They have been designed to be easily readable by general paediatric teams and provide practical “on the ground” advice.

New Zealand has one specialist paediatric palliative care team, based at the Starship Children’s hospital in Auckland. However, children with palliative care needs and their families live all through the nation, meaning their care is delivered by general paediatricians, paediatric multi-disciplinary teams and family doctors in their home towns. A survey of these healthcare professionals done in 2012 highlighted the variation in experience and expertise and a need for clinical guidelines.

Publication of the guidelines in September 2015 marks the end of a long resourcing and development process. Creating quality guidelines from scratch usually takes a large team of authors months to years. Being a small nation with limited funding and a 15 month time frame. this was not an option. A more feasible approach was to adapt existing guidelines from around the world to be used in New Zealand. After assessing the quality and suitability of each guideline, 16 were selected. These came from Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States. Once the drafts were written they were reviewed by New Zealand and clinicians and consumer representatives, before being sent onto 3 international reviewers. You can read more about the method and tools we used to develop these guidelines here:https://www.starship.org.nz/media/346085/development_methodology.pdf

In the first few weeks since their release, they have been used by teams throughout New Zealand and in Australia. Please take the time to browse through them at National Paediatric Palliative Care Clinical Guidelines | Starship If you do use them while caring for children and their families, we would love you to post some feedback which is located at the bottom of each webpage.