Palliative care is intended for children with life-limiting or life-threatening illnesses, regardless of age and pathology, and their families.
It is not limited to children at the end of life. Palliative care begins as soon as an illness is diagnosed and includes, in varying proportions over time, treatments that are still directed against the illness, as well as comfort care.
Palliative care requires an interdisciplinary approach and is tailored to the physical, psychological, social, and spiritual needs of children and their families, with the aim of improving their quality of life. Palliative care continues after the child’s death by supporting the family.
Many children are concerned by palliative care, but only a minority will benefit from structured care. In Belgium, there are pediatric liaison teams whose role is to provide palliative care for children and adolescents in hospitals and at home.
There is a real need for communication and information regarding this subject, and to broaden the range of training courses available.