Students, Severe Illness, and Palliative Care: Results From a Pilot Study on a School-Based Intervention

Am J Hosp Palliat Care. 2015 Nov;32(7):715-24. doi: 10.1177/1049909114539187. Epub 2014 Jun 13.


This study was aimed at piloting a school-based intervention on severe illness, within a project focused on spreading knowledge of palliative care among high school students (phases 0-2 Medical Research Council Framework). The intervention entailed the screening of a topic-related movie, 2 classroom meetings, and the development of a class-based multimedia production. Five classes from 5 high schools participated in this study, and a before-after evaluation was used to assess intervention feasibility and impact. Valid questionnaires were filled in by 84% (before) and 79% (after) of the 89 students. Concerning students' knowledge on palliative care, the after evaluation showed a significantly higher paired proportions of students reporting on "improving patient quality of life" and "life-threatening illness." Intervention components were deemed helpful by students, and positive feedback on the experience was given.

Keywords: MRC Framework; feasibility; high school students; palliative care knowledge; public education; school-based intervention.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Curriculum
  • Early Intervention, Educational*
  • Female
  • Health Education*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Palliative Care*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Quality of Life*
  • Severity of Illness Index*
  • Students / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult