Pediatric Palliative Care ~ A Team Approach
Families of children diagnosed with a life limiting or terminal illness navigating through the system of care are often confronted with over utilization of acute care services, fragmented systems of care and difficulty in accessing services. Typically, children are referred to palliative care only when curative treatments are exhausted. However, experts advise that children can benefit from palliative care early in their courses of illness. Caring for children with life-limiting illnesses has extraordinary challenges; these children and their families need intensive support from the time of diagnosis, with hope for a cure, through bereavement if a cure is not attained. The ultimate goal of pediatric palliative care is enhancing quality of life for the child and family, supporting life and the power of choice without taking away hope.
Pediatric palliative care is an individualized plan of care with children and their families at the core. This model of care provides a holistic approach intended to manage pain and symptom concerns, provide physical comfort, coordinate necessary medical services, offer social supports for the entire family, and provide follow-up and bereavement care. Given parents' hopes and dreams for their children, it is understandable that families never want to give up hope when their child is facing a life-limiting illness. The ultimate goal of pediatric palliative care is enhancing quality of life for the child and family, supporting life and the power of choice without taking away hope.
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