When a child is seriously ill, each person in the family is affected differently. That is why it is important that you, your child, and your family get the support and care you need during this difficult time. A special type of care called palliative care can help. Palliative care is a key part of care for children living with a serious illness. It is also an important source of support for their families.

What is palliative care?

Palliative care can ease the symptoms, discomfort, and stress of serious illness for your child and family. Palliative care can help with your child’s illness and give support to you family. It can:

  • Ease your child’s pain and other symptoms of illness
  • Provide emotional and social support that respects your family’s cultural values
  • Help your child’s health care providers work together and communicate with one another to support your goals
  • Start open discussions with you, your child, and your health care team about options for care.

Palliative care provides comfort for your child. Palliative care can help children and teenagers living with many serious illnesses, including genetic disorders cancer, neurologic disorders, heart and lung conditions, and others. Palliative care is important for children at any age or stage of serious illness. It can begin as soon as you learn about your child’s illness. Palliative care can help prevent symptoms and give relief from much more than physical pain. It can also enhance your child’s quality of life.

Palliative care gives you and your family an added layer of support. Serious illness in a child affects everyone in the family, including parents and siblings of all ages. Palliative care gives extra support for your whole family. It can ease the stress on all of your children, your spouse and you during a hard time.

Palliative care surrounds your family with a team of experts who work together to support all of you. It is a partnership between your child, your family, and the health care team. This team listens to your preferences and helps you think through the care options for your family. They will work with you and your child to make a care plan for your family. They can also help when your child moves from one care setting (ie: the hospital) to another (ie: outpatient care or care at home).

Dell Children’s Palliative Care team follows patients with a wide variety of serious medical conditions, including, but not limited to:

  • Genetic and metabolic disorders
  • Prematurity
  • Congenital malformations and syndromes
  • Severe cerebral palsy
  • Neurodegenerative or neuromuscular conditions
  • Advanced cancer
  • Severe heart and lung disease

Many of our patients and families are coping with the burden of uncertainty regarding the future. Our team supports them, as they hope for the best, attend to the present, celebrate success and prepare for the rest – including possible worst-case scenarios.