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Pediatric Palliative Care


What is pediatric palliative care?

Pediatric palliative care (PPC) is specialized care for children with serious long-term, health conditions. Palliative care focuses on relieving your child's symptoms and improving your family's quality of life. Palliative care is provided in addition to the treatment your child is already receiving. Your child's palliative care team will work together with his healthcare providers. Care will be specific to your family's needs. PPC can begin at any stage of your child's illness. It may even begin before your child's birth. The care may change depending on changes in your child's condition and your family's goals for treatment. PPC can be provided in a hospital, at home, or in an outpatient setting.

Who provides PPC?

Palliative care is provided by a team of trained care providers, including:

  • Doctors and nurses
  • Social workers and chaplains
  • Child life specialists, music and art therapists
  • Nurse aides and volunteers

What do PPC services include?

  • Treatment management helps ease your child's symptoms, such as pain. This may be done using medicines or certain therapies. Your family will meet often with the team to understand your child's condition, monitor changes, and explore treatment options.
  • Emotional and psychological support helps your child, family members, and others close to him cope with their feelings about his illness. This support may help lessen fears about your child's condition. Your child and other family members may join support groups or meet others in similar situations.
  • Practical support helps your family manage changes affecting everyday life. Services can be arranged to address education, employment, and financial concerns.
  • Spiritual or cultural support considers your child's and family's religious values and cultural beliefs. Thinking about values and beliefs may make it easier to understand and accept your child's condition.
  • Transition support can help your child and family prepare for changes that happen near the end of life. Your child's palliative care team will continue to help if your child needs end-of-life care. Transition support can also help your child readjust to daily life if his condition improves.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your child's care. Learn about your child's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your child's caregivers to decide what care you want for your child. 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.

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