Pediatric hospice and palliative medicine is the treatment of children with life-limiting conditions to reduce suffering and improve children's quality of life. While traditional hospice care is associated with treatment during a patient's final six months of life, pediatric hospice and palliative care can begin as soon as a child is diagnosed with a serious medical condition and some patients may make a full recovery. Pediatric hospice and palliative medicine is practiced in a variety of settings, including:
Pediatric hospice and palliative medicine specialists are physicians and frequently aim to include their patients in making medical decisions. For example, younger patients may specify where they wish to receive treatment or what they would like to do during the treatment. Pediatric hospice and palliative medicine specialists also encourage patients to continue participating in educational and social activities which can be modified in format and location as necessary to best suit patients. A pediatric hospice and palliative medicine specialist may also be involved with the following:
While providing treatment, pediatric hospice and palliative medicine specialists may collaborate with a team of child-life specialists, counselors, specialty physicians, pediatric surgeons, respite services, and social workers, among others.