Palliative Care for Children

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Palliative Care for Children: Enhancing the Quality of Life for a Child with a Life-Threatening Illness Melissa Spitler
English Composition 2
Instructor Barckholtz
May 17, 2010

Palliative Care for Children: Enhancing the Quality of Life for a Child with a Life-Threatening Illness “Each year in the USA about 500,000 children are coping with life-threatening illnesses” (Huang et al., 2010). The standard of care for children living with life-threatening conditions is vital for these children as well as their families. Palliative care, which is treatment aimed at reducing pain and other symptoms, rather than treatment aimed at a cure, is extremely important early on. An improvement with earlier access to palliative care involves alleviating not only the child’s physical pain, but their psychological and social distress. Early access to palliative care can make a devastating experience easier for everyone involved. The majority of children with advanced, life-limiting illnesses only receive the support and care they need during their last days. Weeks and even months go by during which they experience unnecessary physical pain, emotional distress, and receive unwanted or unneeded treatment. This is why effective communication between health care providers, the child, and the family members is a vital part of this process. Assessing the patient’s pain is easy to do when they are able to tell you exactly where the pain is and how bad it hurts. The task is more difficult when the patient is unable to respond. The child’s family and the palliative care team, which includes physicians, nurses, and even social workers, must consult regularly in order to give the best quality of care and pain management possible. Also, the palliative care team must consult with family concerning issues such as care goals, making sure the family understands the child’s illness, and exploring the family’s access to home-based and community support services. Another very...
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