What is palliative care for children and young people?
End of life and palliative care for children and young people aims to help them live as well and fully as possible.
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
Your child’s palliative care team will have special skills in managing their symptoms. The team can also help your family work through any difficult medical decisions.
How this palliative care differs from adults
Children and young people with life-limiting conditions can use a range of different services. These can include community-based support agencies and disability support services.
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: