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Top 10 Priorities in Paediatric Hospital Care Identified

In collaboration with the James Lind Alliance (JLA), the Paediatric Inpatient Research Network (PIRN) has completed the Paediatric Hospital Care Priority Setting Partnership (PSP). Executed from April 2020 to September 2021, this three-phased partnership brought together patients, parents, caregivers, and healthcare professionals to identify the top ten most important, unanswered research questions around the treatment and care of children in hospital.


Top 10 Priorities

  1. What best practices and/or care models exist for inpatient care for children and youth with medical complexity on the general paediatric inpatient unit?

  2. What methods of communication are most effective between patients, caregivers and health care providers on a general paediatric inpatient unit?

  3. What are best practices and support strategies for Indigenous parents, families and children and youth on the general paediatric inpatient unit?

  4. How can we ensure that healthcare delivery in hospital meets the needs of children and youth with developmental disabilities on the general paediatric inpatient unit?

  5. What are effective support strategies for parents, families and children and youth hospitalized on the general paediatric inpatient unit? (e.g. support groups, private rooms/sleeping arrangements, breastfeeding support, physical activity, making the ward more adolescent-friendly, screen time)

  6. What mental health supports can be provided to parents, families and children and youth while hospitalized on the general paediatric inpatient unit?

  7. What are effective ways to incorporate shared decision-making with parents and children/youth hospitalized on the general paediatric inpatient unit? ("Effectiveness” defined as length of stay, caregiver confidence)

  8. What are effective strategies to mitigate the impacts of prolonged inpatient hospitalizations on the general paediatric inpatient unit? (e.g. addressing unmet needs, prolonged separation from family)

  9. What are effective alternatives to shorten length of stay for hospitalized children and youth on the general paediatric inpatient unit? (e.g. hospitalization at home, early discharge with close and regular follow-up)

  10. What are the most effective communication methods (e.g. handover, rounds, etc.) between healthcare providers on a general paediatric inpatient unit?

To identify these priorities, the Paediatric Hospital Care PSP enlisted a patient-oriented research approach by engaging with patients (e.g. children and youth), caregivers and clinicians at each and every step in the priority-setting process, from contributing ideas drawn from lived experience, to making strategic decisions about the design and delivery of the research study.

Next Steps

With the overarching goal of effectively relaying the Top 10 patient-oriented research priorities to diverse audiences, project leads of the JLA PSP will oversee the creation and dissemination of various knowledge translation products. To make this work possible, the program has been granted funding by the Ontario Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research SUPPORT Unit’s (OSSU) EMPOWER (Engaging Multi-Stakeholders for Patient-Oriented Research Wider Effects & Reach) Awards competition.


Through this funding, project leads of the JLA PSP will continue to work collaboratively with youth, parents, caregivers and clinicians to create dynamic and unique patient-informed knowledge translation products, that will seek to inform directions of future research in paediatric hospital care.


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