When children in the United States are stricken with a serious illness or injury, few question the medical community's focus on aggressive intervention aimed at curing or extending young lives. But what is all too often overlooked, say experts, is that children who die—along with many others who ultimately triumph over life-threatening conditions—often suffer needlessly because of lack of palliative and hospice care.
Such care not only addresses the physical needs of the child, such as managing pain and other symptoms, but also brings together a team of physicians, nurses, social workers, therapists, clergy, volunteers, and others to provide psychological, social, and spiritual support for children and their families.
Stephenson J. Palliative and Hospice Care Needed for Children With Life-Threatening Conditions. JAMA. 2000;284(19):2437-2438. doi:10.1001/jama.284.19.2437