Patients with chronic conditions and their complex care needs in a tertiary care hospital

Arch Pediatr. 2021 Aug;28(6):470-474. doi: 10.1016/j.arcped.2021.05.001. Epub 2021 Jun 16.

Abstract

Introduction: Health care for children with complex chronic conditions (CCC) constitutes an evolving and a challenging part of practices in pediatrics. These children need end-of-life services such as palliative care. The aim of this study was to identify the frequency of patients with CCC among all hospitalized children at our general pediatrics services and to describe the demographics, diagnosis, clinical spectrum, long-term care needs, and mortality data of patients with CCC.

Patients and methods: All hospitalizations in 2018 at the general pediatric services were screened retrospectively. Patients' hospitalization diagnoses, gender, age, comorbid conditions, number of emergency admissions in 2018, intensive care unit needs, mortality rates, and the number of hospitalizations in 2018 were investigated.

Results: A total of 1591 patients were hospitalized for 2083 times in 2018. Overall, 145 of 1591 patients (9%) had CCC. Patients with CCC were hospitalized for 472 times (23% of all hospitalizations). The number of emergency admissions, the number of hospitalizations in 2018 and the need for intensive care, and the mortality rate during hospitalization for patients with CCC were significantly higher than those for patients without CCC. The median length of hospitalization in patients with CCC was significantly longer.

Conclusion: Patients with CCC were hospitalized frequently and longer, had increased emergency and PICU admissions, and special long-term care needs. Pediatricians who pioneer care for children with CCC need education, training, and coordinated support to ensure qualified long-term care for these patients.

Keywords: Chronic disease; Enteral nutrition; Home health-care agencies; Hospitalization; Palliative care medicine.