Effectiveness of Specialised Paediatric Palliative Care (SPhAERA)

  • End date
    Mar 30, 2024
  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    University Children's Hospital, Zurich
Updated on 24 February 2022


This study evaluates the effectiveness of an existing Specialised Paediatric Palliative Care programme and reports on its potential to improve patient-, family-, health professionals-, and healthcare-related outcomes. Data will be compared between an intervention and a comparison group.


The number of children and adolescents living with life-limiting conditions and potentially in need for specialised paediatric palliative care (SPPC) is rising. As a highly complex subfield of palliative care, paediatric palliative care focuses on the support and involvement of the entire family, and on the impact not only at the patient level, but also at the family and health systems level. Ideally, a specialised multiprofessional team fills the complex healthcare needs of children and their families. A consultative care model might be well-suited to address each family's most important needs. The question, however, of how SPPC is beneficial for whom and under what circumstances remain largely unanswered as validation of innovative care programmes in controlled studies is lacking.

This study's overall target is to evaluate the effectiveness of SPPC and to report on its potential to improve patient-, family-, health professional-, and healthcare-related outcomes. The primary objective is to explore how SPPC influences the quality of life (QOL) of caregivers, i.e. parents. Secondary objectives are to explore how SPPC influences the QOL of patients including their symptom severity and distress as well as the QOL of their siblings and of healthcare professionals not specialised in PPC. Further objectives are to determine whether the provision of SPPC reduces the utilisation of healthcare resources and direct and indirect health-related costs for families, and to evaluate implementation outcomes such as adoption, i.e., the uptake of SPPC.

This interventional multi-centre study will apply a hybrid design to determine the clinical effectiveness (comparative effectiveness research) of an existing SPPC programme, while gathering information on its delivery and potential implementation in a real-life situation.

This study will be conducted in compliance with the protocol, the current version of the Declaration of Helsinki, the ICH-GCP as well as all national legal and regulatory requirements.

Condition Paediatric Palliative Care
Treatment Specialised Peadiatric Palliative Care (SPPC)
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT04236180
SponsorUniversity Children's Hospital, Zurich
Last Modified on24 February 2022


Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria

Children, aged 0-18 years, suffering from a life-limiting condition of various origins and potentially in need of SPPC (for Zurich, additionally enrolment in the SPPC programme)
Parents (mothers and fathers) of included children
Siblings, aged >8 years, of included families
All health care professionals involved in the care of included families
Proficiency in French or German language
Signed Informed Consent after being informed

Exclusion Criteria

Neonates with medical complications due to prematurity and/or birth complications and treated in a neonatal intensive care unit
Children with an estimated life expectancy of <48 hours
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