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What is pediatric palliative care?

Pediatric palliative care is care with the goal of maintaining or improving a child's quality of life. Pediatric palliative care achieves this by adequately controlling pain and other symptoms that come from the child's treatments.

Jennifer Chaikin
Nursing Specialist

Let's first define palliative care. Palliative care involves the caring for people with serious or chronic illnesses. The focus is on helping patients and families cope with the pain and stress of whatever illness they have, and to improve quality of life. Palliative care is not hospice care, although they do have similarities. Hospice care is more appropriate toward the end of life; palliative care should begin at any time during an illness. 

Pediatric palliative care is then specific to meeting these needs as well as the emotional and spiritual care a child and their family may need to deal with these illnesses. Children are different—so they need different things! Therapy includes not only medications, but exercise therapy, meditation, nutritional support and stress reduction techniques, to name a few. 

It is a partnership between the patient, family and the medical specialists. What makes palliative care so successful is the collaborative team approach. 

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.