What is Paediatric Palliative Care

WHO Definition of Palliative Care for Children

Palliative care for children represents a special, albeit closely related field to adult palliative care. WHO’s definition of palliative care appropriate for children and their families is as follows; the principles apply to other paediatric chronic disorders (WHO; 1998a):

  • Palliative care for children is the active total care of the child's body, mind and spirit, and also involves giving support to the family.
  • It begins when illness is diagnosed, and continues regardless of whether or not a child receives treatment directed at the disease.
  • Health providers must evaluate and alleviate a child's physical, psychological, and social distress.
  • Effective palliative care requires a broad multidisciplinary approach that includes the family and makes use of available community resources; it can be successfully implemented even if resources are limited.
  • It can be provided in tertiary care facilities, in community health centres and even in children's homes.

Page updated 21 November 2022

Holistic, Compassionate Care

  • relief of pain and other symptoms
  • equipment needs (e.g. care at home or access to community)
  • in home supports (e.g. nursing visits)
  • access to an inter-professional team (including allied health staff)
  • short break services
  • support for emotional and social concerns
  • spiritual care
  • culturally appropriate care
  • preferences for future care
  • financial assistance