Palliative care for children and young people
Palliative care for children and young people is different to care for adults. It aims to provide the best quality of life and care possible and to support the family. It also helps families make important decisions about their child's care.
What is palliative care for children and young people?
Any child or young person who has a serious, complex, or life-limiting illness may receive palliative care.
Palliative care is helpful for children with diseases like:
- neurological (brain) conditions
- heart, lung, kidney, or liver disease
How to decide if your child needs palliative care
Deciding whether or not your child needs palliative care is a personal and emotional decision. To make this decision you can do the following:
- speak with their doctor or health care provider
- consider what your child's and family's needs are
- determine what services are available in your area
How does this palliative care differ from adults?
The services provided by a paediatric palliative care team include:
- specialist care
- assistance in accessing services
- sibling support
- counselling and emotional support
- bereavement support
- networking activities
- trained family volunteers
Deciding on the right type of care is not always easy. Many children are cared for at home. However, your child may also have palliative care in a hospital or in a hospice. You can also move between all of these facilities while your child is having palliative care. Palliative Care Australia has a full list of paediatric hospices.
For more resources on palliative care for children and young people, see Paediatric Palliative Care Resources.