About Children’s Palliative Care
What is Children’s Palliative Care?
Children’s palliative care is an active and total approach to care, from the point of diagnosis or recognition, throughout the child’s life, death and beyond.
It embraces physical, emotional, social and spiritual elements and focuses on the enhancement of quality of life for the child or young person and support for the family.
It includes the management of distressing symptoms, provision of short breaks and care through death and bereavement.
What is the difference between children’s and adult’s palliative care?
Children experience a variety of rare conditions specific to childhood. It is acknowledged that the child may survive to early adulthood. Children are also growing and developing as they go through illness. Therefore, all specialised medical care, including palliative care, must be tailored to meet the changing needs of infants, children and young people.
Palliative care can be helpful to all patients with a serious illness and at any stage of their disease. The time frame differs for children, as it may vary from a few days to a number of years. It also embraces the whole family who may be vulnerable at this time.
Provision of education and play when a child is seriously ill is essential. This introduces an additional dimension, which adds to the complexity of care provision.
- Promoting the best possible quality of life and care, for every infant, child or young person, with a life shortening or life threatening condition and their family.
- Giving families real choice is key to this approach, with a choice of
- place of care
- place of death
- emotional and bereavement support.
- Putting the child, young person and family at the centre of decision making will enable them to have the best quality of life and death possible.
(Adapted from Together for Short Lives)