Pediatric Palliative Care

Pediatric palliative care is specialized medical care that is family centered. The goal of pediatric palliative care is to provide comprehensive support that improves quality of life for the child and their family by addressing the physical, emotional, social, and spiritual needs throughout the illness.

Palliative care is based on need, not prognosis, so it is best to start palliative care as soon as possible. This type of care is not limited to end-of-life situations and can be initiated at the time of diagnosis and continue throughout the course of the illness, whether the child is receiving curative treatment, life-prolonging care, or comfort care.

Key benefits of pediatric palliative care include:

Symptom Management: Managing and alleviating the symptoms and side effects of the illness and its treatments, such as pain, nausea, and fatigue.

Communications and Decision-Making: Facilitating open and honest conversations among the healthcare team, the child, and the family to help them make informed decisions about the child’s care.

Emotional and Psychosocial Support: Providing emotional and psychosocial support to the child and their family to help them cope with the challenges of the child’s illness, addressing grief, anxiety, and other emotional needs.

Coordination of Care: Coordinating care among different healthcare providers to ensure continuity of care and that all aspects of the child’s well-being are being addressed.

Respite Care: Offering respite care to give family members a break from caregiving responsibilities.

Spiritual Support: Addressing the spiritual and existential challenges and concerns of the child and family, respecting their cultural and religious beliefs.

What is Pediatric Palliative Care?

Pediatric palliative care is often provided by a multidisciplinary team that may include physicians, nurses, social workers, psychologists, physician assistants, child life specialists, chaplains, and other healthcare professionals. The focus is on enhancing the overall quality of life for the child and family, fostering a holistic approach to care that extends beyond just medical interventions.

Rachel Thienprayoon

We are most proud of our diversity and connectivity; as a team we are relational, coordinated, and motivated. Our sum is more than the whole of our parts.

Rachel Thienprayoon, MD, MSCS,
Palliative Care Quality Collaborative (PCQC)

Chief Clinical Wellness Officer
Cincinnati Children’s Hospital


Clinical Practice Guidelines for Quality Palliative Care, 4th edition

Create a blueprint for excellence by establishing a comprehensive foundation for gold-standard palliative care, including evidence-based processes and practices for providing safe and reliable high-quality care for all people living with serious illness, regardless of their diagnosis, prognosis, age or where they live or receive care.