It focuses on enhancement of quality of life for the child and support for the whole family and includes the management of distressing symptoms, provision of respite and care from diagnosis through death and bereavement.
Palliative care can be introduced at any point throughout a child’s life; it is completely individual. Some children may require palliative care from birth; others only as their condition deteriorates.
Children with life-limiting conditions require holistic and multidisciplinary services for long periods of time. Children may survive into early adulthood, extending palliative care over many years.
Palliative care affects the whole family, with most of the care provided by parents and siblings or grandparents. Appropriate services are more likely to be home based rather than hospital-based.
The aim of palliative care is to achieve quality of life and a dignified death, preferably in a place of the child and family’s choosing.