International Standards for Pediatric Palliative Care: From IMPaCCT to GO-PPaCS

J Pain Symptom Manage. 2022 May;63(5):e529-e543. doi: 10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2021.12.031. Epub 2022 Jan 11.


Context: Since the publication of the IMPaCCT project in 2007, much effort has been made to develop new approaches to pediatric palliative care (PPC). Fifteen years later, it is time to redefine the standards in PPC.

Objectives: An international group of experts in PPC has revised the standards in PPC through the GO-PPaCS project (Global Overview - PPC Standards). The goal was to update the PPC standards considering the specificity of different settings, resources, and emerging challenges. The present document is intended to reach all people directly or indirectly involved in PPC.

Methods: A literature review in MEDLINE was conducted to expand on the fundamental points and current standards on PPC and to cover an international setting. The literature search (updated on the 15th of April 2021) was carried out using different combinations of keywords and focusing on papers published in English over the past 5 years (2016-2020), but older articles were considered when relevant. The consensus on the fundamental points, standards of care and paper contents was reached by open discussion.

Results: Fundamental points were defined regarding the definition of PPC, eligibility criteria and the magnitude of the need for PPC, while standards were redefined for the following six areas: 1) clinical, developmental, psychological, social, ethical and spiritual needs; 2) end-of-life care; 3) care models and settings of care; 4) PPC in humanitarian emergencies; 5) care tools; and 6) education and training for healthcare providers.

Conclusion: The present document, developed with the contribution of an international group of experts from different countries, experiences and models of care, provides fundamental points and standards for a wider implementation of PPC worldwide.

Keywords: Pediatric palliative care; international standards for pediatric palliative care; life-limiting conditions; life-threatening conditions; terminal illness.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Health Personnel
  • Hospice Care*
  • Hospice and Palliative Care Nursing*
  • Humans
  • Palliative Care / psychology
  • Terminal Care* / psychology