Section on Hospice and Palliative Medicine
Welcome to the AAP Section on Hospice and Palliative Medicine (SOHPM) Web site! The site is under development with new information and resources being added on a regular basis. We invite you to look around and let us know about any additional resources or information that you would like to see.
Pediatric palliative care is care designed to meet the unique and special needs of children living with life-threatening conditions such as cancer, muscular dystrophy, cystic fibrosis, severe brain problems, complications from prematurity and birth defects and rare disorders, among other conditions. Unlike many other forms of medical care, pediatric palliative care recognizes that everyone in the family is affected when one member is ill. Therefore, pediatric palliative care focuses on the needs of the patient and family: parents, brothers and sisters and other members of the members of your suppport system. The focus of pediatric palliative care is to enhance the quality of life for all involved, in large part by preventing and alleviating suffering using the skills and knowledge of a specialized care team that includes doctors, nurses, social workers, chaplains, child life therapists, and others. Pediatric palliative care focuses on pain and symptom management, information sharing and advance care planning, practical, psychosocial and spiritual support, and coordination of care.
Pediatric Palliative Care Research – Similar, but Different
Palliative care pediatricians and others who care for children with life-limiting conditions know altogether too well that children are not just little adults. Children who receive palliative care services are affected by illnesses that are different in nature and number from those that typically affect adult recipients of palliative and hospice services. Adults involved in the lives of children – be they family, school teachers, civic club leaders, sports coaches or from a family’s faith community – also occupy a different place in these childrens’ lives (and are generally affected quite differently) when compared to adult family and contacts in the world of adult palliative care. While interdisciplinary teams are the norm in both pediatric and adult palliative care – special knowledge of pediatric developmental, psychological, social and spiritual dimensions round out the comprehensive palliative care of pediatric patients. Even symptom management requires unique assessment tools, knowledge of developmental pharmacology and innovative manners of using medications that may never have been studied in the context of children across the age spectrum – let alone those who may be living with chronic and debilitating states, or at the end of their lives.
The information posted on this Web site is selected for its value and relation to palliative care and does not represent an endorsement or an official opinion or position of the American Academy of Pediatrics.