Pediatric Palliative Care Consulting Service
Pediatric palliative care is care that’s meant to help relieve symptoms or other issues that your child has because of serious illness or treatment. Everyone on your child’s healthcare team wants to ease your child’s experience however we can. The Pediatric Palliative Care Consulting Service has a special team devoted to helping with this.
Who Provides Pediatric Palliative Care
The pediatric palliative care consulting team is made up of a doctor, nurse, social worker and chaplain at Seattle Children’s, a Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA) parent organization. This special team consults with your family and your child’s direct healthcare providers.
The team’s purpose is to be your advocate, to collaborate with your child’s providers and to help you make treatment choices that are right for your family. We are also here to help you find support. The treatment or support itself may come from your child’s providers, from community organizations or from other resources that we help you locate.
Who Gets Palliative Care
Pediatric palliative care is designed for children who have a serious illness that may limit their life. This includes children who are near the end of life. But palliative care is much more comprehensive than terminal care. It is helpful for children at any time from diagnosis throughout treatment. Many patients and families who have benefited from pediatric palliative care have survived their illness and no longer require treatment at SCCA. The service is for any family with a child who is seriously ill.
How It Works
Pediatric palliative care is holistic. It addresses physical, psychological, social and spiritual impacts of illness.
Your contact with the team can take any form that is helpful. It often includes a care-planning meeting. At this meeting, your family and the team will talk through your family’s unique situation, needs and preferences. We have a decision-making tool that’s designed to shape this conversation. The tool is meant to help your family be actively involved in care decisions.
At care-planning meetings, we talk about medical issues and treatment options as well as many other related topics. For instance, we talk about quality of life and about the ways treatment may affect your child’s ability to do the things he or she loves. We also talk about strategies for getting support from community resources.
As we talk, a team member takes notes, keeping track of the topics and the decisions you make. This way you don’t have the added stress of remembering every detail. At the end, you have a document to serve as a guide. This document can be updated and changed as often as necessary.
When your child is a patient at Seattle Children’s, the same consultant will be available to provide support throughout your hospital stay.
To find out more about the Pediatric Palliative Care Consulting Service, please ask your child’s healthcare team.