Pediatric Palliative Care
Pediatric palliative care addresses serious medical conditions, including:
- Genetic disorders,
- Neurologic disorders,
- Heart and lung conditions and others.
It relieves the symptoms of these diseases, such as pain, shortness of breath, fatigue, constipation, nausea, loss of appetite and difficulty sleeping, anxiety and depression. In short, it helps the child and the family improve their quality of life.
Your child may need more than relief from these symptoms. Pediatric palliative care can also 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,
Download Support for the Whole Family When Your Child Is Living with a Serious Illness to learn more.
Similarities and Differences
Children experience a variety of illnesses that are not often seen in adults. The illnesses that are seen in both adults and children often act differently because of:
- Anatomy and physiology.
- Physical growth patterns.
- Cognitive development.
- Social and emotional development.
- Speech and language development.
- Fine motor skill development.
- Gross motor skill development.
as they go through an illness. Therefore, all specialized medical care, including palliative care, is tailored to meet the needs of infants, children and adolescents.
Palliative care can be helpful to all people living with a serious illness and at any stage of their disease. This is particularly the case in children, because they are resilient in illness in ways that adults are not.
- Palliative care can start at the beginning of an illness and be given along with treatment meant to cure.
- Palliative care aims to improve quality of life by relieving distressing symptoms.
- The team helps with decision making and figuring out care goals.
- Palliative care is medical care, but it also involves a team of different disciplines that includes doctors, nurses, social workers and others.
- Having a serious illness is not a “normal” condition for most children. This presents unique challenges in caring for the children and their families.
- Medical decisions for young children are usually made by their family caregivers. Adult patients may make their own decisions.
- Pediatric palliative care can also involve a play therapist, child life therapist and/or child behavioral specialist.