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PURPOSE: Health and social care professionals report it challenging to have conversations with families when an important adult in the life of a child is at end of life, often feeling this aspect of care is the responsibility of other colleagues. This study aimed to understand professionals' perceived role in family-centered conversations as part of routine care at end of life, and how to promote this element of care in clinical practice. METHODS: An audit was completed with 116 professionals who work in palliative care including doctors and nurses that attended a 2-day virtual congress. RESULTS: Professionals (73.2%) felt confident about starting a conversation with adult patients at end of life about important children. However, enquiring about relationships with children was largely dependent on the age of the patient. 64.7% of respondents reported signposting families to websites and services that provide family support. Most professionals (76.7%) wanted training to equip them with the skills and confidence to having family-centered conversations at end of life, with videos demonstrating how to provide these elements of care the most preferred option. CONCLUSIONS: Short training resources should be developed to equip professionals with the necessary skills toward having conversations about children with patients and relatives in clinical appointments. There is a need for professionals to ask every patient about important relationships with children.

Original publication




Journal article


Am J Hosp Palliat Care

Publication Date



children, communication, dying, end of life, family-centered care, healthcare professionals, psychosocial support, social care professionals