Palliative Care for Children and Young People

What is paediatric palliative care?

Paediatric palliative care is care and support for children and young adults with a life-limiting illness. It focuses on comfort and quality of life for the child and support for the whole family/whānau. Palliative care is available at any time throughout a child’s life, especially during times when the child is more unwell and the prognosis is uncertain. These can be challenging times when decision-making is often difficult. Palliative care can help by working alongside everyone involved in the care of the child from the hospital through to the community teams, making sure the unique needs of each child and family/whānau are recognised, understood and met. Palliative care can be provided alongside other treatments.

Who are we?

The Hospice Palliative Care Service is a large multidisciplinary team which includes specialist doctors, nurses, allied health and family support professionals. The team is based at Nurse Maude Hospice but most of the time works in the community. The Paediatric Palliative Clinical Nurse Specialist is part of this team. Children and young people are always cared for in collaboration with the primary paediatrician, general practitioner and other health professionals.

What can palliative care provide?

  • Management of symptoms to keep the child as comfortable as possible and able to do the things important to them
  • Coordination of care and liaison with doctors and other health professionals
  • Care in the setting of choice (home, hospital or hospice) whenever possible
  • Assistance with making informed decisions about treatment and care including advance care plans
  • Support for children, family/whānau and friends
  • Hospice admission if necessary
  • Grief and bereavement support How to get referred A referral can be made to the Paediatric Palliative Clinical Nurse Specialist through the Nurse Maude Hospice Palliative Care Service. Referrals can be made by paediatricians, general practitioners, community health providers, or staff at Christchurch Hospital. 24-hour contact Advice is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week from the hospice if required.