Paediatric Comfort Teams realising palliative care in The Netherlands

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A recent blog post from the Paediatric Taskforce of the European Association of Palliative Care (EAPC) written by Anne-Marie van Walraven and Meggi Schuiling-Otten describes the excellent support being provided by Paediatric Comfort Teams in The Netherlands.

Anne-Mari van Walraven, PhD, Project Leader Pediatric Comfort Teams, Sophia Children’s Hospital Rotterdam and Willem Alexander Children’s Hospital Leiden, and Meggi Schuiling-Otten, Director of Stichting PAL Kinderpalliatieve Expertise, and a member of the EAPC Paediatric Taskforce wrote the blog which was published at the end of October 2016.

They write that paediatric palliative care in The Netherlands has gained momentum which has included the establishment of the first paediatric palliative care team to provide support at home. The Emma Thuis Team in Amsterdam has shown that palliative care during childhood requires a different approach. 

The Paediatric Comfort Teams (PCTs) are being developed in two academic units located in Leiden and Rotterdam. Project groups in both locations have been tasked with gathering all the expertise that could add to optimal paediatric palliative care provision.

After the development of procedures and protocols, regular multi-disciplinary meetings were held at each location with the teams acting in a consultative role providing advice on such issues as symptom management and individual care plans.

Advance care planning
The blog points out that for mutually agreed advance care planning, the input of parents and/or the child was necessary and such discussions have helped parents and healthcare professionals to record personal views and wishes for an individual care plan. It has also helped in the review of the process of transition of children to either home or hospice with the involvement of specialised home care nursing teams and general practitioners earlier on.

Click here to read the full blog on the EAPC website. 

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