Like an extra quilt on a cold winter night, pediatric palliative medicine is an added layer of care for children with serious illnesses. Focusing on quality of life through symptom management along with goals of care and support for shared decision-making in difficult medical situations, palliative care is provided by a team of doctors, nurses and other specialists to help patients and their families gain strength to live each day to the fullest.
Differing from adult palliative care in that the special needs of children and their parents are the center of care plans, and from complex care, which focuses on coordination of care, pediatric palliative care sets goals for each individual patient that allow them to live the best and most comfortable life they can.
Education and research in pediatric palliative care ensures that professionals in this specialty will work with patients and their families along with primary care physicians and specialists to provide holistic care that manages symptoms and adds a support system. Keeping the patient’s childhood at the center of care, palliative care specialists also keep in mind those who are also affected by an illness, especially parents, extended family, classmates and friends, resulting in better health for the child and compassionate care for all involved.