Pediatric End-of-Life Care – Comfort for our Youngest Patients
Hospice and pediatrics? Really? Initially, I thought this was an oxymoron. Children are sweet and innocent, and should lead happy, carefree lives into adulthood. Unfortunately, we all know that this isn’t always the case. Some children get sick; some children are bornunhealthy; some are victims of accidents.
But, these children need to be cared for and embraced, just like every child. As heart-wrenching as caring for a terminally ill child can be, the benefits are tremendous. Not just for the child and the parents, but for the healthcare professional.
Although childhood death is at 2.2 percent — much lower than the 30 percent rate the US saw in 1900 — it’s still a stark reality for many children and families across the county. Most terminally ill children die in hospitals, but studies have shown that 70 percent of families would choose for their child to die at home if they had adequate support. That’s where the dedicated people who work in hospice come in - giving children and their grateful families the same option we give adults - comfort care in the place of their choice.
DeAnna L. Looper RN, CHPN, CHPCA
Chief Corporate Clinical Consultant