Portugal has just taken a major step forward in the development of paediatric palliative care, with the publication of a Government’s ordinance (Portaria 66/2018, March 6, 2018) that mandates the creation of paediatric palliative care hospital teams.
The ordinance states “All public hospitals with Paediatrics Departments must create a paediatric palliative care team, formed according to local demands and characteristics, which may directly care and guide the implementation of individual care plans for children with complex chronic conditions and their families”.
This legal requirement follows a similar one for adult services, published in 2015, which has resulted in all public hospitals currently having an adult palliative care team.
These teams must include, as minimum requirements, professionals from Medicine, Nursing, Psychology and Social Service, all with palliative care education and training. Other disciplines may be included according to need and availability.
They must work in collaboration with the primary hospital teams, but also with the adult palliative care teams, primary care and community teams (including home care) and services.
The ordinance also states that the National Palliative Care Network is to be helped by a technical support group, which must include a paediatrician with palliative care education.
Several teams are already in place in the country, as reported at the European Congress in 2016 (poster 83), but it is expected that their visibility will now increase and that several other hospitals will follow.