Children don’t die…right?

Many people believe that children to not get sick or die. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. About 55,000 children die each year in the United States and about 10% of all children living within the United State battle a chronic, complex medical disease every day.  These children and their families need us. Back in 2001, the American Academy of Pediatrics released a statement challenging healthcare professionals to do just that…help these children and families, thus beginning the movement for pediatric palliative care.

What is pediatric palliative care you ask? Well, pediatric palliative care focuses on preventing, reducing, relieving, and/or managing pain and symptoms caused by a chronic, complex medical condition and/or its treatment while maintaining quality of life for the child and family.

When does a child qualify for palliative care? In the very beginning, throughout the illness regardless of outcome…and the best part, along with curative treatments. Allowing for families to decide what the best care is for their child.

So is pediatric palliative care different from hospice care? Yes, in a sense, it is. Pediatric palliative care begins at the beginning of a child’s diagnosis or at any point during the course of the illness. Where hospice care focuses on the last year to 6 months of a child’s life. The principles are the same…excellent pain and symptom management, optimal quality of family, and interdisciplinary team approach; all the same… allowing the child and family to be the center of care.

Do all kids who qualify for pediatric palliative care die? No, not always. Many children who have a chronic, complex medical diseases do not die from that illness…yet live and palliative care helps them live their life.

Covenant loves kids and their families. We offer a variety of children’s programs and services. Whether the child has an illness themself, or is a sibling of a someone who is chronically ill, or maybe even a grandchild or child of parent who is ill. Covenant has a children’s program to fit their needs.

So, here is your challenge…take time for the kids in your life, ask them about their day, how they are doing, and cherish the time.

If you are interested to learn more about pediatric palliative care, visit our website www.covenanthospice.org , the Initiative for Pediatric Palliative Care www.ippcweb.org, or Florida Hospice and Palliative Care website www.floridahospices.org.

You can always reply to this post and I would be more than happy to discuss your thoughts.

Until next time…

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