Decision-Making for Children with Medical Complexity: The Role of the Primary Care Pediatrician

Pediatr Ann. 2020 Nov 1;49(11):e473-e477. doi: 10.3928/19382359-20201013-01.


Families of children with medical complexity (CMC) face many types of health-related decisions. These decisions vary in magnitude of consequences, degree of risk, time scale, degree of tradeoffs, degree of uncertainty, degree of linkage with other decisions, and reversibility. There are many influences on decision-making, including evidence, hopes, and values. Primary care pediatricians are in a unique position to assist families of CMC with decision-making. Pediatric clinicians have an opportunity to establish a trusting relationship with a family over time and to understand the family's values, beliefs, and preferences during periods of relative health and stability. This allows primary care pediatricians to support families in decision-making by helping to clarify their values and goals and apply those values to the decision at hand. [Pediatr Ann. 2020;49(11):e473-e477.].

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Chronic Disease*
  • Comorbidity
  • Decision Making*
  • Humans
  • Pediatricians*
  • Primary Health Care*