Compassionate Discharges From the PICU

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This article focuses on compassionate discharge from an ICU setting for pediatric patients.

Data Sources:

Not Applicable.

Study Selection:

Not Applicable.

Data Extraction:

Not Applicable.

Data Synthesis:

The rationale for compassionate discharge is described, along with suggestions for assessing feasibility. A patient case highlights the potential benefits of and provides specific examples of steps involved in the process. A general framework for consideration of compassionate discharge, along with a checklist, is provided to highlight the importance of detailed planning and communication.


Although many children die in an ICU setting, some families desire end-of-life care in a nonhospital setting, often at home. For children dependent on technology, there are considerable logistical challenges to overcome, and it may not always be possible. However, with meticulous planning and close collaboration between intensive care staff, palliative care staff, and other community services, compassionate discharge can be done successfully and provide the child and family the opportunity for end-of-life care in the place most meaningful to them.

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