Development and Implementation of an End-of-Life Curriculum for Pediatric Residents

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Caring for a child near the end of life (EOL) can be a stressful experience. Resident physicians are often the frontline providers responsible for managing symptoms, communicating difficult information, and pronouncing death, yet they often receive minimal education on EOL care.


To develop and implement an EOL curriculum and to study its impact on resident comfort and attitudes surrounding EOL care.


Kern’s 6-step approach to curriculum development was used as a framework for curriculum design and implementation.


Categorical and combined pediatric residents at a large quaternary care children’s hospital were exposed to the curriculum.


A cross-sectional survey was distributed pre- and postimplementation of the curriculum to evaluate its impact on resident comfort and attitudes surrounding EOL care.


One-hundred twenty-six (49%) of 258 residents completed the preimplementation survey, and 65 (32%) of 201 residents completed the postimplementation survey. Over 80% of residents reported caring for a dying patient, yet less than half the residents reported receiving prior education on EOL care. Following curriculum implementation, the percentage of residents dissatisfied with their EOL education fell from 36% to 14%, while the percentage of residents satisfied with their education increased from 14% to 29%. The postimplementation survey identified that resident comfort with communication-based topics improved, and they sought additional training in symptom management.


The implementation of a longitudinal targeted multimodal EOL curriculum improved resident satisfaction with EOL education and highlighted the need for additional EOL education.

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