Palliative Care for Children

World Health Organization Definition (WHO; 1998a)

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 pediatric chronic disorders.

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 centers and even in children's homes.

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