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Advances and Challenges in European Paediatric Palliative Care

Journal title
Medical sciences (Basel, Switzerland)
Publication year
Fraser, L. K.; Bluebond-Langner, M.; Ling, J.

Advances in both public health and medical interventions have resulted in a reduction in childhood mortality worldwide over the last few decades; however, children still have life-threatening conditions that require palliative care. Children's palliative care is a specialty that differs from palliative care for adults in many ways. This paper discusses some of the challenges, and some of the recent advances in paediatric palliative care. Developing responsive services requires good epidemiological data, as well as a clarity on services currently available and a robust definition of the group of children who would benefit from palliative care. Once a child is diagnosed with a life-limiting condition or life-limiting illness, parents face a number of complex and difficult decisions; not only about care and treatment, but also about the place of care and ultimately, place of death. The best way to address the needs of children requiring palliative care and their families is complex and requires further research and the routine collection of high-quality data. Although research in children's palliative care has dramatically increased, there is still a dearth of evidence on key components of palliative care notably decision making, communication and pain and symptom management specifically as it relates to children. This evidence is required in order to ensure that the care that these children and their families require is delivered.

Research abstracts