Palliative Care is a comprehensive approach to treating individuals living with serious illness that focuses on the physical, psychological, spiritual, and existential needs of the person. Its goal is to achieve the best quality of life available for you and your family by relieving suffering and controlling pain and symptoms. Palliative care is provided by a specially-trained team of doctors, nurses and other specialists who work together with your doctors to provide an extra layer of support. Palliative care is based on your needs, not your prognosis. It is appropriate at any age and at any stage in a serious illness, and it can be provided along with curative treatment. Palliative care can take place in hospitals, nursing homes, outpatient palliative care clinics, other specialized clinics, or at home.
- All palliative services can be provided alongside curative treatment
- Palliative care is not based on prognosis, it is based on needs and goals of care
- Symptom relief (pain, depression, shortness of breath, fatigue, constipation, nausea, loss of appetite, difficulty sleeping, anxiety)
- Emotional, psychological, and spiritual well being
Pediatric Palliative Care
Palliative care for children is the active total care of the child’s body, mind and spirit, and also involves giving support to the family. It begins when illness is diagnosed, and continues regardless of whether or not a child receives treatment directed at the disease. Healthcare professionals must evaluate and alleviate a child’s physical, psychological, and social distress.
Effective palliative care requires a broad multidisciplinary approach that includes the family and makes use of available community resources; it can be successfully implemented even if resources are limited. It can be provided in tertiary care facilities, in community health centers and even in children’s homes.
Pediatric palliative care is family-centered. It helps with communication and coordination of care. With the close communication that palliative care provides, families are better able to choose options that are in line with their values, traditions and culture. This improves the well-being of the entire family.
Palliative care is based on need, not prognosis. It is best to start palliative care as early as possible. This benefits both the child and the family.
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- Lifetimes: The Beautiful Way to Explain Death to Children by Bryan Mellonie
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