Palliative care for children (pronounced pal-lee-uh-tiv) is a type of specialist medical care for children who are suffering from a terrible disease. Palliative care aims to relieve patients of their illness’s symptoms and stress. The goal is to improve the child’s and family’s quality of life.
Palliative care is provided by a professionally trained team of doctors, nurses, social workers, and others. As an extra layer of support, the team collaborates with the child’s other doctors. Palliative care can be given at any age and at any stage of an illness, and it can be given in conjunction with curative treatment.
Because palliative care is based on need rather than prognosis, it’s better to bring the team in as soon as possible.
Genetic problems, cancer, preterm, neurologic disorders, heart and lung issues, and other critical medical conditions are addressed in pediatric palliative care. Pain, shortness of breath, exhaustion, constipation, nausea, loss of appetite, difficulty sleeping, anxiety, and depression are all signs of these disorders. In a nutshell, it aids the child’s and family’s quality of life.
The focus of pediatric palliative care is on the family. It aids in communication and care coordination. Families are better able to pick solutions that are in line with their values, traditions, and culture because of the close contact provided by palliative care. This benefits the entire family’s well-being.
Palliative care is provided based on need rather than prognosis. Palliative treatment should be started as soon as possible. Both the child and the family profit from this.
Types of Palliative Care
Cancer and its treatment frequently result in complications known as side effects. While it’s critical to treat the cancer, it’s also critical to alleviate the cancer’s side effects and symptoms. In fact, cancer treatment and associated side effects frequently occur at the same time. This is referred to as palliative or supportive care.
Palliative care works best when it is started as soon as you realize you need it during your treatment. People who receive palliative care in addition to cancer therapy frequently have less symptoms, a higher quality of life, and are happier with their treatment. Palliative care is available at any age and for any type or stage of cancer.
You could find it difficult to express how you feel or what you’re going through to your loved ones or caretaker. You could also require a support group or transportation to and from treatment. In certain cases, a social worker can assist. They can, for example:
- Assist you in organizing a family gathering.
- Suggestions for how to organize folks who want to help are welcome.
- Assist you in locating medical information, transportation, or services.
- A social worker can also help family members and caregivers with palliative care. For example, if they are feeling overwhelmed, the social worker can assist them in determining what kind of assistance they require and locating it.
Cancer can make you feel a variety of emotions, including despair, anxiety, and anger. It can also cause a lot of anxiety. A support group, a counselor, a psychologist, or another specialist can assist you in comprehending and coping with these feelings.
Talk to your health-care staff about how you’re feeling to get help. You can also learn to manage your emotions.
Cancer can raise a lot of spiritual questions. You could be perplexed as to why you developed cancer. After surviving cancer, you may desire a deeper sense of purpose.
If you are a part of a religion community, such as a church, synagogue, or other religious organization, your spiritual leader or other members of the community may be able to assist you spiritually. Whether you are religious or not, a hospital chaplain can offer spiritual assistance. Chaplains work with people of various faiths as well as those who are not religious. Find out more about spiritual assistance.
Symptoms, therapies, and drugs for mental cancer can all have an impact on how your mind functions. If you don’t get enough sleep, for example, you may feel agitated and have trouble thinking effectively. Alternatively, you may be concerned about whether your treatment is effective.
Exercise, counseling, meditation, and maybe medication are all a part of palliative care for mental health issues like anxiety, depression, and sleep disorders. A counselor, support group leader, or psychologist may recommend that you engage in activities that help you cope with stress and anxiety, such as yoga, art, joining a support group, or volunteering for a cause that you care about.
Treatment for cancer can be costly. This could be a source of concern and stress for you and your family. You may discover that, in addition to treatment fees, you have other out-of-pocket expenses, such as the cost of flying to a cancer center for treatment.
Any financial issues should be discussed with your healthcare staff. Palliative care for these problems can be provided by a social worker or a financial counselor. They might, for example:
- Assist you in discussing the expense of care with your medical team.
- Explain billing and insurance to your customers, or hire someone to do it for you.
- Assist you in obtaining medical leave or disability benefits.
- Look for programs that offer free or low-cost medications.
- Learn more about how to deal with financial concerns.
Cancer’s physical side effects and therapy are influenced by a number of factors. These factors include your cancer kind, stage, treatment, and overall health. The following are examples of physical side effects:
- Tiredness (being very tired)
- Nausea, vomiting, and a loss of appetite are all symptoms of a stomach bug.
- Breathing issues, such as shortness of breath
- Problems with sleep
- Anti-nausea medications, physical therapy, and nutrition assistance are examples of palliative care for physical side effects. For help with physical side effects, you could see a palliative care specialist, a sleep specialist, a pain specialist, or another professional.
Palliative care after cancer treatment
Physical adverse effects might sometimes linger after treatment has ended. If these side symptoms occur months or years after treatment, doctors refer to them as “late consequences.”
You may be concerned about treatment-related side effects as your kid prepares to begin cancer therapy. Children, on the other hand, can receive palliative care. Regardless of your child’s age or stage of sickness, it is a crucial aspect of his or her treatment approach.
Before your kid begins cancer therapy, speak with the medical team. Inquire about treatment’s potential side effects and palliative care choices. Notify your child’s health care provider if any new or changing adverse effects occur so that they can be treated as soon as possible.