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SJD Barcelona Children's Hospital will oversee an EU project for improving the palliative care of children

18 January 2024
The team from the EU PALLIAKID project

The PALLIAKID consortium, made up of partners from 10 countries, sets out to provide access to palliative care by children who are in an advanced stage of illness

It is estimated that 21 million children require palliative care around the world, and that more than 8 million require specialised care. In Europe, around 170,000 children die every year without being able to access this healthcare.

The aim of PALLIAKID, a healthcare project funded by Horizon Europe (Grant No. 101137169), is to have an impact on this situation and improve the well-being and quality of life of children and adolescents who require palliative care, for which the focus will be on the involvement of patients, their families and health carers. Planned to run for four and a half years, the project has started up with a budget of 7 million euros.

The consortium is made up of 17 partners from 10 European countries, including five hospitals in Spain, Italy, Denmark, Finland and Latvia. Innovate UK, which funds the project in the United Kingdom, is also taking part.

Sergi Navarro, the head of the Palliative Care and Chronic Complex Patients Department at SJD Barcelona Children's Hospital and a researcher at the SJD Research Institute, is leading a team of healthcare experts in providing comprehensive care and one-to-one support to children and their families who require palliative care. He and doctor Sílvia Ricart, who works in the same department and is also a researcher, are coordinating this ambitious project.

“Our team of experts is working tirelessly to devise a programme that responds to the unique needs of children and adolescents by providing them and their families with the comprehensive care and one-to-one support that they deserve”, said Sergi Navarro.

The Palliative Care and Chronic Complex Patients Department at SJD Barcelona Children's Hospital is the oldest in Spain, having been running for 30 years.

The lines of work of the PALLIAKID EU project

Firstly, the project anticipates improving the early diagnosis of patients with complex palliative needs, by creating predictive models that make it possible to rank patients according to the complexity of their condition and thus be able to provide support early that is more comprehensive and better planned.

The second line of work will be more focused on the involvement of patients and their families, and plans to develop tools that make it possible to assess both their needs and expectations more accurately. This will be achieved by facilitating communications with and the involvement of the whole healthcare team.

Finally, the project will focus on an advanced care plan that encourages an interaction between children, their families and healthcare teams throughout the course of an illness. A digital support tool, the Patient Journey platform, will also be set up in order to promote the involvement of patients and facilitate mutual decision-making.

Talks in Barcelona attended by experts in palliative care from across the continent

Barcelona hosted the project’s first face-to-face meeting on 18 January 2024, at which the ground rules were set for the work to be completed in the coming years. SJD Barcelona Children's Hospital acted as host for the talks attended by almost 50 experts from around Europe that lasted for two days, at which the 17 partners put forward their objectives, discussed the project, and outlined its approach and scope. These talks afforded the perfect opportunity to introduce the consortium and establish the conventions to ensure the partnership is as successful as possible.

The partners also had the opportunity to find out first-hand about the Hospital’s palliative care model by way of a visit to Casa de Sofia, who were shown around by Sergi Navarro. This event not only enabled the participants to find out about the project in greater detail, but also contributed to their understanding of SJD Barcelona Children's Hospital’s commitment to the field of palliative care.