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Docs Define Competencies for Peds Hospice and Palliative Care

Competencies are specific to pediatrics hospice and palliative medicine subspecialists

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 19, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Competencies need to be developed for pediatrics hospice and palliative medicine (HPM) subspecialty, according to a special article published online Nov. 17 in Pediatrics.

On behalf of the American Board of Hospice and Palliative Medicine Competencies Work Group, Jeffrey C. Klick, M.D., from the Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, and colleagues used a product development method to define specific Pediatric HPM Competencies.

The researchers note that the field of HPM was intended to be one subspecialty, but specific differences in the care of pediatric, adult, and geriatric patients indicate that some attention must be paid to these subfields. Many basic competencies were found to be universal across the age spectrum, although differences exist in caring for a child, including bereavement after loss of a child, a child's physiology (change and growth), and communication with children (cognitive ability, developmental stage, family structure). The field of pediatric HPM needs to be more clearly defined; a number of core areas of knowledge, skill, and attitude in the Pediatric HPM Competencies were added de novo or eliminated. These competencies may need to evolve over time as other areas in need of change, addition, or more emphasis are identified.

"For now, the Pediatric HPM Competencies are specific to pediatric HPM subspecialists and should be integrated into their training," the authors write. "In the future, they will serve a foundational role in the field of HPM, inform a wide range of emerging innovations, and provide a framework for dealing with challenges."

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