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A parent’s guide: making critical care choices for your child

This leaflet has been developed for parents, carers or legal guardians who care for a child with a life-limiting or life-threatening health condition.

Please note: This resource is pending a review in 2024, and some links in the current version may have expired. If you need any support, please go here where you can email, live chat or call our helpline.

It has been written to support you whilst you are thinking about the critical care options for your child. You will have been given this leaflet because the healthcare team responsible for your child’s care is concerned that your child may be approaching the end of their life.

Important discussions and decisions will now need to be made and the healthcare team will want to ensure you understand what is happening and to explore your views, values, beliefs and wishes. This leaflet is designed to give you information, signposts and prompts to help you understand the challenges that everyone who is looking after your child faces and to help you make informed choices and decisions about treatment and critical care choices for your child.

A parent’s guide: Making critical care choices for your child, has been written in a simple question and answer style format, and includes some of the key questions or concerns that you may have regarding critical care. These include:

  • What are critical care choices?
  • What is an end of life care plan?
  • Will my child carry on getting the care and support they need?
  • Do I have a choice in my child’s critical care?
  • How are critical care decisions made?
  • What if I change my mind?
  • What if my doctor and I do not agree?

There are sections designed to help you think about the realistic choices for your child and a series of prompts are included to help you talk to your doctor or healthcare team. The leaflet also includes a directory of useful support agencies and glossary of medical terminology to help guide you through the jargon associated with critical care.

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