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Frequently Asked Questions

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There's a lot of confusion about what palliative care is ... and isn't. To help families understand how palliative care can enhance your child's care and relieve some of the daily stresses for your family, we've answered the answered the questions we're most often asked about palliative care.

What is pediatric palliative care?

Pediatric palliative care (pronounced pal-lee-uh-tiv) is patient and family-centered care that optimizes quality of life by helping to ease the symptoms, discomfort and stress of serious illness for your child and family. It's provided by a team of Palliative Care doctors, nurses, social workers and others who work together with your child's other doctors to provide an extra layer of support.

How do I know if palliative care is right for my family?

Palliative care may be right for you and your family if your child has a serious illness or chronic condition. Cook Children's Palliative Care team helps children who have complex, chronic or potentially life-threatening conditions.

What are the benefits of palliative care?

Pediatric palliative care focuses on the whole child and how your child's medical condition and treatment affects the entire family. Our goal is to help improve quality of life for your child and family.

Our Palliative Care team can:

  • Assist with coordination of care and communication between all care providers and across multiple care settings.
  • Assist the primary care team with symptom management recommendations.
  • Help you better understand your child's disease and diagnosis.
  • Provide information and support on treatment options and assistance with making difficult medical decisions.
  • Provide emotional, spiritual and practical support for your child and family, including siblings.
  • Help with access to community and home-based services and resources.
  • Create a care plan that works with your values, cultural and spiritual traditions, treatment preferences and goals of care.

Do I have to give up my child's doctor?

No, the Palliative Care team provides an extra layer of support and works in partnership with your child's other doctors.

Can my child have curative treatment at the same time as palliative care?

Yes, absolutely. Palliative care can be provided along with curative and life-prolonging treatment, or as a main focus.

How does palliative care help me choose the best treatment option?

The Palliative Care team will spend time listening and talking with you and your family. We will make sure you completely understand all of your child's treatment options. By deeply exploring your personal goals, the Palliative Care team will help you match the treatment options to your goals. We will also help make sure that your child's doctors work together and understand what you want for your child. This gives you more control over your child's care.

When should I ask for palliative care?

Palliative care is appropriate for all ages (from birth to young adult) and at any stage of a serious illness. But we recommend requesting palliative care early in your child's illness. You can ask your child's doctor about scheduling a palliative care consultation.

We're here to help.

If your child is living with a complex, chronic, or life threatening illness, we can help. If you would like to schedule an appointment or refer a patient to our staff, please call our offices at 682-885-1116.