How Palliative Care Helps the Child

The main goal of pediatric palliative care is to allow your child to grow and develop through childhood in the face of serious illness.

Using a team approach, pediatric palliative care helps your child and family caregivers cope with the challenges of illness and hospitalizations by relieving the symptoms of the disease or treatments. The team also focuses on supporting the people around your child, including siblings. They provide your child’s medical team with resources for medical care at home or closer to home. They also coordinate care among your child’s many doctors and improve communication between you and the primary medical team.

Pediatric palliative care teams manage common symptoms, such as pain, shortness of breath, depression, anxiety, nausea, spasticity and seizures. They explain ways to care for children in unique circumstances, including those who need fetal and neonatal care or suffer from chronic illnesses. They also offer practical advice about making difficult medical decisions and about caring for children outside the hospital and in the community.

A pediatric palliative care team helps whenever and wherever needed, whether in the hospital, at home or in the community. How palliative care can  help often depends on your child is feeling. That’s why having access twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week to a team that knows your child is key.

Jane’s Story

Jane is seventeen and has cystic fibrosis. She loves to listen to music, text her friends and go shopping. Sometimes she has problems with feeling short of breath and anxiety and comes into the hospital a couple of times a year for treatment. The last time she was in the hospital she met the pediatric palliative care team. The palliative care team worked with her to teach her some relaxation techniques and exercises that helped her relax and feel better. “Now I look for them whenever I come to the hospital,” Jane says, “or I call them when I’m not feeling great at home. I like that they treat me like a real person, not just a kid.”