Palliative Care In Pediatrics
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
Palliative care is a special kind of health care that provides comfort and support to children with serious life-threatening conditions. It also provides comfort and support to children who are near the end of life. Palliative care is also given to the child's family. This care aims to improve the quality of life in physical, psychological (mental), social, emotional, and spiritual ways. It may be given along with other treatments and may last until the child's cure or death. Homes, hospitals, schools, and health centers may provide palliative care.
Follow up with your child's primary healthcare provider as directed:
Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your child's visits.
Caring for your child:
- Keep your child company: Always be willing to listen to him, especially as he talks about his life, hopes, and dreams. Do things together, such as watching television and reading books, or just stay with him.
- Learn more about your child's condition: This can help you better understand what he is going through. Most children want to be included in their treatment and care plan. Avoid holding back information that you think your child should not hear or cannot understand. Work with caregivers and other people to help your child.
- Respect your child's feelings and other emotions: Work together with people whom your child can trust to help him cope. Let your child express his fears and concerns about dying, such as leaving family and friends behind. This includes communication through activities, such as drawing pictures, playing with stuffed animals, and writing stories.
A caregiver may arrange services to assist with your child's social needs. These may include home care, school re-entry, transportation, rehabilitation, and counseling. A caregiver may also refer your child to different healthcare providers and services. They can help to make sure that your child's care continues as his condition changes.
Counseling and emotional support are given to your child as part of palliative care. This may help your child express his emotions. A caregiver may also talk to you, family, friends, and others who take care of him. Patients and families may join support groups or meet other children and families in similar situations. Ask caregivers for more information about support groups.
For support and more information:
- American Academy of Pediatrics
141 Northwest Point Boulevard
Elk Grove Village , IL 60007-1098
Phone: 1- 847 - 434-4000
Web Address: http://www.aap.org
- National Hospice & Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO)
1700 Diagonal Road, Ste 625
Alexandria , VA 22314
Phone: 1- 703 - 837-1500
Phone: 1- 800 - 658-8898
Web Address: http://www.nho.org
Contact your child's primary healthcare provider if:
- Your child cannot or does not want to eat, drink, or take his medicines.
- Your child cannot make it to his next visit.
- Your child has new signs and symptoms since his last visit.
- You or your child have questions or concerns about his condition or care.
Return to the emergency department if:
- Your child feels like hurting himself or someone else.
- Your child feels pain that is not relieved by taking pain medicines.
- Your child feels that he cannot cope with his condition.
- Your child has problems sleeping.
- Your child has shortness of breath, chest pain, or a fast heartbeat.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.