Who Can Benefit?
The word “palliative” comes from the Latin word for “comfort.” Therefore palliative care should be a part of any child’s care regardless of age, because all children should be as comfortable as possible despite their challenges, whether it be children with heart problems, lung problems, cancer, organ failure, metabolic disorders, prematurity, congenital abnormalities, neurological conditions such as muscular dystrophy, genetic disorders, brain injury, and other conditions. But there is a particular role for palliative care for children with serious, chronic illnesses who may be in and out of the hospital or spend long periods of time in the hospital. For these children, a palliative care team (we call our team the Supportive Care Team) can address pain and other symptoms, the psychological stress of illness, and the stress on siblings and parents.
Benefits for Families
Brothers and sisters, grandparents, parents (even parents who are expecting a child with a known condition or illness). The Supportive Care Team can work with the family and medical teams to make sure there is clear communication, coordination of care, and support for all who need it.