Pediatric palliative care is for children who are living with very serious and complex illness. They do not have to have a life expectancy of only a few months.
Families can access it from birth – sometimes even before a baby is born, if a serious problem is detected in utero – through the course of an illness, whether it lasts weeks, months or years. Care can be at home, in the hospital, or in both settings.
Palliative care teams work with children with many serious diseases such as cancer, major organ failures, HIV/AIDS, serious heart conditions, cystic fibrosis, progressive genetic, neurological or metabolic disorders, kidney failure, or severe cerebral palsy. Sometimes they are involved with children who are awaiting, or who have had, transplants.
For more information nationwide, contact GetPalliativeCare.org, a consumer site of the Center to Advance Palliative Care, or the helpline at Caring Connections of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization at 800-658-8898.