Last Updated 16 May 2018

Pediatric Palliative Care

Category Grief, Medicine, Nursing
Essay type Research
Words 657 (2 pages)
Views 328

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. 7). 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. 7). 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; second, because in their social role as adults, they were unable to protect the child from harm; and, third, because they “betrayed” parents who trusted them with the most valuable being in their life (Morgan, March-April, p. 87).

The nurse’s role in caring and supporting children and their families require special coping skills which are essential to providing the most positive outcome for all that are involved in the palliative process. The aim of pediatric palliative care is to keep the child comfortable while supporting the parents in caring for their child according to their wishes and beliefs. From the diagnosis, parents are already grieving the loss of their child. Grieving not only affects the family but has a huge emotional impact on health care providers as well.

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When a child’s life ends, families need intense and long-term psychosocial and bereavement services (Rushton, January-February 2002, p. 57). Psychosocial and bereavement resources and support for health care professionals who care for these children are virtually nonexistent or minimally supported in the current cost constrained health care environment (Rushton, January-February 2002, p. 57). The medical world and Congress have taken an important first step to support the need for pediatric palliative care services.

In 1999, CHI successfully advocated for bipartisan congressional appropriations for demonstration model program to address the unique needs of children with life threatening conditions (Rushton, January-February 2002, p. 59). There is so much to that nursing has to do in the future to make sure that pediatric palliative is out there in every hospital, institute and every setting that a child is at. We all must increase the awareness of pediatric palliative care programs and the special needs of the nurses who care for these dying children.

A child’s death may seem like a long, scary pathway. Nurses have the power to create a brighter journey for these patients and their families, as well as for themselves. References Morgan, D. (March-April). Caring for Dying Children: Assessing the Needs of the Pediatric Palliative Care Nurse. Pediatric Nursing, 35(2), 86-90. Rushton, C. H. (January-February 2002). Pediatric Palliative Care: The Time is Now! Pediatric Nursing, 28(1), 57-70.

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Pediatric Palliative Care. (2018, Oct 22). Retrieved from

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