Pediatric palliative transport (PPT) is the practice of offering critically and terminally ill children requiring life-sustaining measures the opportunity to be discharged from the hospital to home or a hospice facility for end-of-life care. Although studies have shown PPT to favorably affect both children and their families, limited research exists on the perspectives of health care practitioners.


To understand the experience of interprofessional practitioners who have cared for a critically or terminally ill child during a PPT and their perception of PPT as a care option.


This study is a qualitative descriptive inquiry conducted using 8 focus groups. Participants included interprofessional staff from 4 specialty intensive care units, the pediatric advanced care team, and the critical care transport team at a quaternary, freestanding children’s hospital. Content analysis was used to summarize themes and recommendations.


Five overarching themes were identified: PPT as a care pathway, education, communication, support, and closure. Use of PPT was perceived as aligned with the hospital’s mission of family-centered care and as providing a way for the health care team to support a family’s choice. Participants recommended further development of information to guide communication and processes of care that would enhance the experience for families and staff and support PPT as a care pathway.


Pediatric palliative transport is considered a feasible, valuable, and critical end-of-life intervention. The value that PPT has brought to participating families warrants continued investment in the intervention’s standardization and enhancement.

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