Continued growth expected for paediatric palliative care subspeciality

Categories: Policy.

An article written by Dr. Linebarger and published in the August newsletter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)  looks at developments and evolution within the field of paediatric palliative care. Since the AAP published its first policy statement in 2000 the field has evolved significantly, resulting in the AAP releasing an updated policy statement in 2013.

The initial policy statement outlined the care principles for palliative care for children. It reinforced that the palliative care teams’ role begins at diagnosis. The policy statement  also suggested minimum standards for paediatric palliative care.

A cross sectional survey of 226 children’s hospitals was undertaken in 2012 which revealed that an estimated 50% of all children’s hospitals had paediatric palliative care services. There were 112 children’s palliative care programmes in 2012 and most were developed in the past decade. The survey revealed disparities in staffing, services and funding. 

The 2013 American Academy of Pediatrics statement assessed the growth in paediatric palliative care speciality since the initial statement it reaffirmed the need for interventions to decrease pain and other distressing symptoms. 

The article outlines 12 important recommendations that should aid in the maturation of the speciality the first of which being that each children’s hospital should have a dedicated (and fiscally supported) interdisciplinary palliative care specialty team.

To read the full article, click here.


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