What is palliative care?
Palliative (pronounced pal-lee-uh-tiv) care is a holistic model of care focused on optimizing quality of life and minimizing the suffering of children with advanced, complex and life-threatening illnesses. Palliative care team providers, nurses, social workers and chaplains work closely with primary medical team members to assist in pain and symptom management, set goals and coordinate care in inpatient, outpatient and home settings.
Does palliative care help?
Scientists have studied how palliative care can help children living with serious illnesses. Studies show that patients who get palliative care say it helps with:
- Pain and other distressing symptoms, such as nausea or shortness of breath.
- Communication between health care providers and family members.
- Emotional support.
Other studies show that palliative care:
- Helps patients get the kids of care they want.
- Meets the emotional, developmental, and spiritual needs of patients.
Does accepting palliative care mean our family is giving up on other treatments?
No. The purpose of palliative care is to ease your child’s pain and other symptoms and provide emotional and other support to your entire family. Palliative care can help children, from newborns to young adults, and their families – at any stage of a serious illness. Palliative care works alongside other treatments your child may be receiving. In fact, your child can start getting palliative care as soon as you learn about your child’s illness.
If we start palliative care, can my child still see the same primary health care provider?
Yes. Your child does not have to change to a new primary health care provider when starting palliative care. The palliative care team and your child’s health care provider work together to help you and your child decide the best care plan for your child.
Is palliative care the same as hospice?
Both palliative care and hospice care provide comfort, but they have different time frames for use. Palliative care can begin at diagnosis and continues through treatment, no matter how your disease responds to treatment. Hospice is a specific type of care and set of services that is offered only when a person is expected to live 6 months or less.
When should I ask for palliative care?
Palliative care is appropriate for all ages (from birth to young adult) and at any stage of a serious illness. But we recommend requesting palliative care early in your child’s illness. You can ask your child’s doctor about scheduling a palliative care consultation.
We’re here to help.
If your child is living with a complex, chronic, or life-threatening illness, we can help. If you would like to schedule an appointment or refer a patient to our staff, please call our office at 512-324-0197.