Pain Relief and Symptom Management
Pediatric palliative care is relief of physical, emotional, social and spiritual suffering and a large part of what we do centers on the relief of physical suffering, that is, pain and other uncomfortable problems like shortness of breath, nausea or constipation. Sometimes these symptoms occur as a part of an acute illness (like pain associated with an injury or infection) and sometimes it is part of a more chronic illness and needs attention and treatment on an ongoing basis.
The Pediatric Supportive Care Team recognizes that pain and other symptoms are complicated and that there is a strong mind-body connection when it comes to treating symptoms. Our team realizes that it is important to figure out the impact of symptoms on a child and family’s life and important to assess whether depression, anxiety, isolation and worrying are making symptoms worse.
We make every effort to figure out where symptoms are coming from and to put them in the context of the child’s illness and total suffering (if there is such suffering going on). We are careful to use the minimal amount of medication to relieve a symptom and avoid side effects. We are also firm believers in treatment other than medications; for example, we use massage, music therapy, complementary therapies, distraction, biofeedback, whatever it takes! It takes a team to make this work and we are blessed with a team of psychologists, music and massage therapists and child life specialists to help out!