Pediatric Palliative Care

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Pediatric Palliative Care

Ana M. Gehan

Thomas Edison State College

Pediatric Palliative Care

In modern society, children are expected to outlive their parents. However, for children living with life threatening illnesses, palliative care is an approach to care that enhances quality of life for both the child and the grieving parents. In the article, “Pediatric Palliative Care: The Time is Now!” the authors stress how important it is to start and/or continue pediatric palliative care programs. Worldwide, an estimated 7 million children and their families could benefit from hospice care (Rushton, January-February 2002, p. 57). In the United States alone, 1 million children are very serious ill (Rushton, January-February 2002, p. 57). Pediatric palliative care has become an increasing discussion in the health care world. Palliative care was first introduced in 1990 by the World Health Organization (WHO) and is currently defined as “an approach to care which improves quality of life of patients and their families facing life-threatening illness through prevention, assessment and treatment of pain and other physical, psychological, and spiritual problems “(Morgan, March-April, p. 87). Pediatric palliative care is an area of the patient care that can be one of the most emotionally challenging areas of practice.

In the article, “Caring for Dying Children: Assessing the Needs of the Pediatric Palliative Care Nurse” the author outlines how stressful the job of taking care of a dying child can be on the nurse. Health care workers may experience emotions such as helplessness, anger, sadness, and anxiety while providing care to dying children (Morgan, March-April, p. 86). These emotions may quickly lead to “nurse burnout” and increase nurse burnout in hospital settings. It is not uncommon for health care workers to perceive the death of a child as a “triple” failure: first, because they did not have the means, skills or abilities to save a life;...
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