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Clinical Trial Summary

Children with ultra-rare or complex rare diseases are routinely excluded from research studies because of their conditions, creating a health disparity. However, new statistical techniques make it possible to study small samples of heterogeneous populations. We propose to study the palliative care needs of family caregivers of children with ultra-rare diseases and to pilot test a palliative care needs assessment and advance care planning intervention to facilitate discussions about the future medical care choices families are likely to be asked to make for their child.


Clinical Trial Description

A rare disease is a condition affecting fewer than 200,000 persons. Pediatric patients with rare diseases experience high mortality with 30% not living to see their 5th birthday. Families are likely to be asked to make complex medical decisions for their child. Pediatric advance care planning involves preparation and skill development to help make future medical care choices. Children with rare disorders are a heterogeneous group often with co-morbidities, resulting in their exclusion from research, thereby creating a health disparity for this vulnerable population. Available research on families of children with rare diseases lacks scientific rigor. Although desperately needed, there are few empirically validated interventions to address these issues. We propose to close a gap in our knowledge of families' needs for support in a heterogeneous group of children with rare diseases; and to test an advance care planning intervention. The FAmily CEntered (FACE) pediatric advance care planning intervention, proven successful with cancer and HIV, is adapted to families with children who have rare diseases. Theoretically informed and developed by the PI, Dr. Lyon, and colleagues, the proposed intervention will use Respecting Choices Next Steps Pediatric Advance Care Planning™ for families whose child is unable to participate in health care decision-making. Our consultation with families of children with rare disorders and the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) revealed that basic palliative care needs should be addressed first, before an advance care planning intervention. For the study to be able to meet this request, all families randomized to the intervention will first complete the Carer Support Needs Assessment Tool (CSNAT)© which our investigative team adapted for use in pediatrics. In the CSNAT Approach, facilitators assess caregivers' prioritized palliative care needs and develop Shared Action Plans for palliative care support. Thus, we propose an innovative 3-session FACE-Rare intervention, integrating two evidence-based approaches. We will evaluate FACE-Rare using a scientifically rigorous intent-to-treat, single-blinded, randomized controlled trial design. Family/child pairs or dyads (N=30 dyads) will be randomized to FACE-Rare (CSNAT Sessions 1 & 2 plus Respecting Choices Sessions 3) or control (Treatment As Usual) groups. Both groups will receive palliative care information. All families will complete questionnaires at baseline and 3-months follow-up. Investigators will evaluate the initial efficacy of FACE-Rare on family quality of life (psychological, spiritual). We will estimate how religiousness and caregiver appraisal influence families' quality of life. We will also explore health care utilization by the children during the study and family satisfaction. If the aims of this pilot trial are achieved, a future, large, multi-site trial will test the full theoretical model to improve care for children with rare diseases and their families through family engaged pediatric Advance Care Planning. The ultimate goal is to minimize suffering and enhance the quality of life of family caregivers of children with rare diseases; and through this process to improve the palliative care of their children. ;


Study Design


Related Conditions & MeSH terms


NCT number NCT04855734
Study type Interventional
Source Children's National Research Institute
Contact Nadia J Itani, BA
Phone (202) 476-4524
Email [email protected]
Status Not yet recruiting
Phase N/A
Start date May 1, 2021
Completion date June 30, 2022

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