Children Palliative Care
Caring for children…
Paediatric Palliative Care encompasses the clinical, psychological, ethical and spiritual aspects of care for babies, children and young people affected by a wide range of serious medical conditions, including genetic syndromes, cancer, prematurity, neurologic disorders, heart and lung conditions and others.
Children affected by life-threatening and life-limiting conditions have unique and multiple care needs that are very different to those of adults. Besides the palliative phase in children often being much longer than in adults, their continuing physical, emotional, and cognitive development influences all aspects of their care, including pharmacological treatment, their communication skills and level of dependence; care programs must be flexible and tailored to individual needs.
Child-specific palliative care focuses on the enhancement of quality of life, by relieving distressing symptoms and pain and by providing support for the family unit, it helps the child and the family to carry on with ‘normal’ daily life.
The home environment can be the most comforting and safest place for a child facing a serious illness, for this reason one of the main aims of paediatric palliative care is to provide family-centred home-care permitting social reintegration for the children and their families.
During the recent event side event entitled ‘Implementing WHA’s Resolution on Palliative Care: ensuring Access for Children’, held during the 68th World Health Assembly in Geneva, Joan Marston, Chief Executive of the ICPCN, revealed to the 90 participants, including the Director General of the World Health Organization, Dr Margaret Chan, that, according to new data, at least 21.6 million children worldwide would benefit from paediatric palliative care.