Fact Sheet looks at children’s palliative care and human rights

Categories: Research.

This fact sheet examines the global need for children’s palliative care, the recognition of children’s palliative care under international human rights laws, and what steps governments should take to promote, protect, and ensure access to care.

Children’s rights to palliative care are examined in light of the most relevant articles of the UN Convention on the RIghts of the Child as well as International human rights laws that recognise the right to palliative care for children. THe distinct and specific palliative care needs of children are also listed. 

The following quote from a report from the UN Special Rapporteurs on Health and Torture is included, “Palliative care for young children is an obligatory part of health-care services… [They] have the right to receive the necessary physical, social, psychosocial and spiritual care to ensure their development and promote their best possible quality of life…Health systems must have adequately trained professionals to assess and treat pain in children of different ages and developmental stages and ensure the availability of paediatric diagnostic procedures and palliative care medicines in paediatric formulations…” (Juan E. Méndez, 5 March 2015)

The fact sheet calls on all governments to take the following steps:

  • Develop a national palliative care strategic plan with a specific focus on the needs of children, addressing obstacles and setting benchmarks to ensure progress.
  • Ensure children’s palliative care is progressively available, accessible, acceptable, and of sufficient quality for all, without discrimination, particularly supporting home based pediatric palliative care.
  • Eliminate regulatory barriers that restrict the availability of and access to essential palliative care medicines for children, especially oral morphine.
  • Include pediatric formulations of essential medicines for pain treatment and palliative care in the national lists of essential medicines.
  • Integrate children’s palliative care into the curriculum and training programs of medical, nursing, and other health care professionals—with training on communicating with child patients and their families, taking into consideration the child’s age, maturity, family dynamics, and clinical
  • context.

Click here to download the fact sheet from the OSF website. 

The ICPCN Charter on the Rights of the Child sets out the international standard of support that is the right of all children living with life limiting or life threatening conditions and their families and can be downloaded in 25 languages from the ICPCN website.