Edith Cowan University
Place of Publication
Perth, Western Australia
School of Nursing, Midwifery and Postgraduate Medicine
Palliative care is the relief of symptoms, regardless of their impact on the underlying disease process. The philosophical underpinning of current international paediatric palliative and supportive care models is that palliative and supportive care should be offered to all children with life threatening or chronic illnesses/disabilities with complex care needs. This approach allows the integration of cure-directed treatment and palliative care. allowing children to benefit from both philosophies of care. In Australia, there is increasing recognition of the need for the development of appropriate paediatric palliative care services, especially in Western Australia where supportive care services for children with life-limiting conditions are significantly underdeveloped.
The needs of children with life threatening conditions and their families are unique and require special consideration to enable the appropriate delivery of multidisciplinary care that aims to relieve suffering and improve quality of life. Although traditionally skills and knowledge base were developed for end-of-life care for adults, palliative care for children with life-threatening illnesses may be combined with curative or disease-modifying therapy.
In addition, a child's progressive, life-threatening illness has a profound effect on all dimensions of family life. Families are affected emotionally, psychologically, and financially as family structure and organisation become permanently altered. Only recently have the specific palliative care needs of children and their families been recognised...