The needs of children at the end-of-life: A case synthesis
Fitzgerald, Carrie Balone
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Evaluation of the unique needs of children with complex chronic health conditions and their families has captured the attention of researchers and clinicians. As medical research continues to improve treatments and survival rates for many children with life-threatening illnesses, the need for ongoing assessment of children's needs is essential to understanding these needs and maximizing quality of life. A model of the needs of these children has recently been proposed (Donnelly, Huff, Lindsey, McMahon & Schumacher, 2005). The purpose of the present study is to examine the content validity of this model via a case synthesis. Case synthesis is a recently developed method akin to meta-analysis. 49 cases met the eligibility criteria established for this study. The results of the study suggest that the model is relatively comprehensive, but six additional needs were identified. In addition, a strong positive correlation was observed between the proportion of needs met and an overall rating of the child's quality of life. The results of the study will help to refine the content validity of the model and suggest future directions for research on the needs of this population.