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Common Questions about Pediatric Palliative Care

What is Pediatric Palliative Care?

Pediatric palliative care supports children with various types of medical conditions including:

  • Genetic diseases
  • Heart disease
  • Lung disease
  • Neuromuscular disorders, such as Duchenne muscular dystrophy, spinal muscular atrophy, and other neurologic diseases
  • Cancer
  • Complications of prematurity

Who is on the Pediatric Palliative Care Team?

The pediatric palliative care team is made of pediatric healthcare providers specially trained in pediatric palliative care. We work closely with the child’s other medical team members including physicians, nurses, social workers, chaplains, and child life specialists.

What does the Pediatric Palliative Care Team do?

  • Communicates regularly with children, families, and medical teams
  • Helps support families with medical decision-making
  • Assists with acute and chronic pain and symptom management
  • Honors family beliefs, values, and preferences
  • Provides emotional support for the whole family
  • Arranges hospice and end of life care when needed

When and where does the Pediatric Palliative Care Team meet patients?

The pediatric palliative care team can help as soon as a child is diagnosed with a serious illness. We meet children and families for the first time in the hospital or in any clinic at Vanderbilt. Once the palliative care team is involved, we continue to support the child and family during hospitalizations, at regularly scheduled clinic appointments, and at home if desired.