When facing a cancer diagnosis, it is important to get as much support as possible in navigating the often challenging road ahead. Pediatric palliative care is one of the many ways that families and children can get that support. Through pediatric palliative care, children and their family, receive personalized attention that gives them the resources they need to confidently handle the diagnosis, while maintaining their spiritual, mental, and physical health. In this article, read how palliative care can fit into your child’s medical treatment and the benefits it can provide them.
What is Pediatric Palliative Care?
Cancer treatments can often be isolating and come with several unpleasant side effects. Pediatric palliative care strives to relieve some of the symptoms and stress that can accompany these treatments. A specially educated team of medical professionals, therapists, and volunteers will collaborate with your child’s primary care doctor to develop a customized plan, which may include medication, physical therapy, counseling, and other support systems to help your child feel their best. Families often receive access to counseling as well when they enroll their child in pediatric palliative care.
In the pediatric hospice care setting, palliative care, is used in conjunction with curative treatments meant to treat the illness. As a result, these methods can be used to help ease the symptoms of both the illness itself and of the treatments undertaken to cure it.
Benefits of Pediatric Palliative Care
Pediatric palliative care can offer your child many important benefits including the following:
Effective Pain Management
Chemotherapy can cause fatigue, nausea, appetite changes, and weight and mood changes, among other side effects. Pediatric palliative care can help your child live more comfortably and manage their pain as they experience many of these symptoms.
Through palliative care, your child’s team will provide them with medication, diet plans, and other helpful resources to deal with these physical changes. Palliative care can also include massages to soothe aches and physical therapy to support strong muscles and more, ensuring that your child feels more like themselves as they receive treatment.
Support & Therapy
Care may also include various types of therapy. Traditional counseling can help your child understand and process their treatment with a trusted professional, allowing them to express thoughts and feelings that they may be uncomfortable sharing with a parent. Mental health support can also include play, art, music, and pet therapy. For spiritual families, religious counseling is also available, providing comfort and guidance when needed.
Spiritual & Mental Health Counseling
Spiritual and mental health counseling are also available to the parents and siblings of children receiving palliative care. This can help you cope with the situation and receive the support you need to feel more secure as you navigate your child’s care. For siblings, who often feel ignored as their brother or sister receives treatment, counseling can give them a healthy way to discuss their own feelings and needs and come up with ways to reach out for support from their loved ones.
Palliative care can also include respite care services for families. KidsCare staff will come to the home to stay with your child while you have away time.
Finally, your child’s palliative care team represents a valuable source of information as your child receives treatment. You can call upon the nurses, therapists, and medical professionals on the team to answer your questions, connect you with resources, and liaise with your child’s primary care doctor to coordinate treatments or express concerns on your behalf. This can make it easier for you to ensure your child is receiving the best care possible while quieting any concerns you may have.
Choosing a Palliative Care Provider
Speak with KidsCare of the Rockies for more information about receiving palliative care for childhood cancer. KidsCare provides personalized support for children and their families to ensure that their spiritual, physical, and mental needs are met. Care teams consist of nurses, doctors, therapists, child life specialists, chaplains, and volunteers, all of whom have been specially educated to provide high-quality support for children and their loved ones.