International support for #hatson4cpc

Categories: Care and Featured.



On Friday 11th October 2019 we celebrate #hatson4cpc and world hospice and palliative care day. This is a day for raising international awareness of the work of children’s palliative care and hospice services worldwide. The #hatson4cpc campaign is now in its sixth year, known as Hats On for Children’s Palliative Care it aims to raise funds for children’s palliative care but more importantly to raise awareness of the rights of very sick children with life-limiting and life-threatening conditions to receive palliative care.

Prof. Julia Downing, Chief Executive of the International Children’s Palliative Care Network (ICPCN) says:

“Please wear a hat this Friday in support of the 21 million children worldwide who need access to palliative care and pain relief. It is not acceptable that so many children around the world are suffering needlessly – and together we can make a difference as we join forces to raise awareness of children’s palliative care.”

Who can take part?

Anyone can take part in #hatson4cpc – we would like as many people as possible to take part so please spread the word

To take part as an individual, follow these 3 simple steps:

  1. Wear a hat  on Friday 11 October
  2. Take a selfie, add the hashtag #hatson4cpc, upload to your Facebook page and tag ICPCN’s Facebook page
  3. Make a donation of your choosing to ICPCN in honour of the day.

You could also:

  • Get your friends together and host your very own Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, share photos on social media and tag ICPCN. Use the hashtag #HatsOn4CPC
  • Hold a hat making/hat wearing competition with prizes for the winners in different categories, such as most elegant hat, funniest hat, tallest hat, etc.
  • Have a ‘Funky Hat Day’ at your work or school.

You can download materials such as hat templates, stickers, flyers etc from the ICPCN website

Why raise awareness about children’s palliative care?

We know that there are over 21 million children in the world who live with a life-limiting or life-threatening condition  that would benefit from palliative care, with at least 8 million of them needing access to specialist palliative care services. However we also know that only around 5% of these children have access to any form of palliative care, and most of these are in high income countries.

For those in low and middle income countries, services either dont exist or are unable to meet the overwhelming need. Thus millions of children have a poor quality of life and suffer from pain and other distressing symptoms which could be controlled and significantly improved with palliative care.

Governments have a responsibility under Universal Health Coverage (UHC) to provide resources for care delivery to ensure children have palliative care services per this year’s theme for world hospice and palliative care day on Saturday the 12th October  – ‘my care, my right’. Children and their families have specific and intensive palliative care needs that can easily be overlooked because the absolute number of children needing palliative care is low compared to adults. According to the Lancet Commission report every year nearly 2,5 million children die needing palliative care and pain relief and more than 98% of these children are from low and middle income countries. This is not acceptable – no child around the world should be dying in needless pain and suffering, and yet global policies restrict access to medicines including opioids so children are denied medicines to relieve pain linked to illness or injury[1].

What is children’s palliative care?

Children’s palliative care (CPC) is holistic care that responds to the physical, emotional, social and spiritual needs of a child with a life-threatening or life-limiting illness as well as providing care for the child’s family. It aims to provide expert pain relief and symptom control and whatever emotional, social and spiritual support is required to enable the affected child to enjoy the best quality of life possible in the circumstances. When necessary, it supports the child at the end of life and continues to care for the bereaved family members for as long as is needed. This care is provided by a compassionate team of people who all wear different, and sometimes many, hats! You can find out more about CPC on the ICPCN website


[1] Knaul FM, Farmer PE, Krakauer El, et al. Alleviating the access abyss in palliative care and pain relief—an imperative of universal health coverage: the Lancet Commission report. Lancet. 2017; (published online Oct 11.)

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