The Palliative Care Program is led by an interdisciplinary team that works collaboratively with the primary medical team to provide family-centered care to children of all ages who have complex or life-threatening illnesses, as well as their families.

Palliative care is a holistic model of care that focuses on optimizing quality of life and minimizing suffering within the context of advanced illness. The team can assist in difficult pain and symptom management, facilitate communication, goal setting, decision making and assist with coordination of care in clinic, hospital and home settings.

Palliative care consultation is particularly appropriate in the following clinical circumstances, but we welcome referral and review of any child whom the family or health practitioner thinks might benefit from our services. Please consider a palliative care consultation in infants and children of all ages with:

Conditions for which curative treatment is possible but may fail, such as:

  • Advanced or progressive cancer
  • Complex & severe congenital or acquired heart disease

Conditions for which there are long periods of intensive treatment aimed at prolonging quality of life but for which premature death may be anticipated, such as:

  • HIV
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Severe gastrointestinal disorders/malformations
  • Severe immunodeficiencies
  • Renal failure when dialysis and/or transplantation are not available
  • Chronic or severe respiratory failure
  • Muscular dystrophy

Progressive conditions where treatment is exclusively palliative from the time of diagnosis, but may extend over many years such as:

  • Mucopolysaccharidoses or other storage disorders
  • Progressive metabolic disorders
  • Certain chromosomal abnormalities

Conditions with severe disability, often neurological, which, although not progressive, cause extreme vulnerability to health complications and where premature death may be anticipated, such as:

  • Cerebral palsy with recurrent infection or difficult symptoms
  • Extreme prematurity
  • Severe neurologic sequelae of infectious disease
  • Hypoxic/anoxic brain injury
  • Holoprosencephaly or other severe brain malformations.