What is Paediatric Palliative Care

WHO Definition of Palliative Care for Children

Specialist paediatric palliative care services throughout Australia are based in major tertiary paediatric hospitals in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia with shared service provided for Tasmania, Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory. 

Services provide holistic and compassionate care for children and their families who have identified palliative care needs.  This care support can be provided directly or indirectly through local health teams in collaboration with the specialist paediatric palliative care service. Support is provided for families to care for their children in the environment of their choice, including at home in their local community, with flexibility for hospital or hospice admissions as required. 
  • Palliative care for children is the active total care of the child's body, mind and spirit, and also involves giving support to the family.
  • It begins when illness is diagnosed, and continues regardless of whether or not a child receives treatment directed at the disease.
  • Health providers must evaluate and alleviate a child's physical, psychological, and social distress.
  • Effective palliative care requires a broad multidisciplinary approach that includes the family and makes use of available community resources; it can be successfully implemented even if resources are limited.
  • It can be provided in tertiary care facilities, in community health centres and even in children's homes.

Page updated 15 June 2017

Holistic, Compassionate Care

  • relief of pain and other symptoms
  • equipment needs (e.g. care at home or access to community)
  • in home supports (e.g. nursing visits)
  • access to an inter-professional team (including allied health staff)
  • short break services
  • support for emotional and social concerns
  • spiritual care
  • culturally appropriate care
  • preferences for future care
  • financial assistance