If your child has a serious, potentially life-limiting condition it can impact the whole family and may also include extended family, classmates, and friends.

Keep in Mind

A serious, potentially life-limiting illness presents unique challenges in caring for the children and their families. Family caregivers usually make the medical decisions on behalf of children. Children's palliative care providers are aware of the continuing physical, emotional and cognitive development, and try to adjust their approach to the child's level of understanding.

As with adult patients, the main goal of Palliative Care for Children (PDF) is to improve the quality of life of patients and their families. This allows your child to continue and grow and develop at the same time as they receive other treatments for their illness and does not depend upon the course of the disease.

Palliative care for children often helps:

  • Explore advance directives
  • Ease your child's pain and other symptoms
  • Explain complicated terms and care options
  • Provide you with needed emotional support
  • Organize care and schedule appointments
  • Locate community resources that may help your family
  • Address any family concerns

Your child may need more than relief from symptoms. Palliative care can help your child by helping them:

  • Understand their diagnosis
  • Communicate effectively with doctors
  • Cope with concerns about school and friends
  • Find ways to relax and play