Comparison of pediatric and adult hospice patients using electronic medical record data from nine hospices in the united states, 2008-2012

Laura Dingfield, Laura Bender, Pamela Harris, Kristina Newport, Margo Hoover-Regan, Chris Feudtner, Sheila Clifford, David Casarett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Background: Most pediatric hospice patients receive services from agencies typically oriented to adults. Information regarding how pediatric hospice patients differ from adult hospice patients is lacking. Objective: We aim to assess differences between pediatric and adult hospice patients regarding patient characteristics and outcomes. Methods: We compiled a retrospective inception cohort of patients enrolled at nine hospices in the CHOICE network (Coalition of Hospices Organized to Investigate Comparative Effectiveness) between August 1, 2008 and June 30, 2012. Measurements included patient characteristics and outcomes, including discharge from hospice and site of death. Results: Among 126,620 hospice patients, 986 (0.8%) were 18 years of age or younger. Pediatric patients were less likely to have an admitting diagnosis of cancer (odds ratio [OR] 0.62; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.54-0.72). Although children were less likely to use oxygen at enrollment (OR 0.31; 95% CI: 0.26-0.37), they were more likely to have an enteral feeding tube (OR 4.04; 95% CI: 3.49-4.67). Pediatric patients were half as likely as adults to have a do-not-resuscitate order (DNR) order upon hospice enrollment (OR 0.52; 95% CI: 0.46-0.59). The average hospice length of stay for pediatric patients was longer than that of adults (103 days versus 66 days, p<0.001). Children were more likely to leave hospice care (OR 2.59; 95% CI: 2.00-3.34), but among patients who died while enrolled in hospice, pediatric patients were more likely to die at home (OR 3.25; 95% CI: 2.27-3.88). Conclusions: Pediatric hospice patients differ from adult patients in their broader range of underlying diagnoses and their use of hospice services.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)120-126
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of palliative medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Nursing
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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