The palliative care team at University of Iowa Children’s Hospital collaborates with your child’s medical team to coordinate care and provide support for children with serious illnesses. The goal of palliative care is to achieve the best possible quality of life for your child and family.

Palliative care is available at the time of a diagnosis or any time during the child’s treatment as an outpatient or inpatient at UI Children’s Hospital. Palliative care can continue through community support and collaboration whether your child is in a long-term home, care facility, or at hospice.

The goals of the pediatric palliative care program are:

  • Provide support and counseling for your child and your family, as you deal with the emotional, social, and spiritual stress of illness
  • Focus on comfort and quality of life
  • Assist with managing pain and other symptoms related to illnesses
  • Promote a sense of well-being and peace of mind

Palliative care provides comprehensive management of your child’s physical, psychological, social, and spiritual needs, including:

  • Care coordination
  • Discussion of treatment options
  • Emotional/psychological needs
  • Pain and symptom control
  • Advance care planning
  • Grief and bereavement counseling
  • Communication with community agencies

Your child’s palliative care is provided by an interdisciplinary team of pediatric experts, including:

  • Physician/Nurse Practitioner/Nurse: Coordinates care between multiple services related to your child’s diagnosis and medical condition.
  • Child Life Specialist: Provides opportunities for self-expression through therapeutic play and memory-making activities with your child and his or her siblings. Provides emotional support for family members.
  • Social Worker: Assists you in accessing services both in the hospital and back home and provides emotional support for you and your child related to medical issues.
  • Grief Services Coordinator: Supports pediatric patients and their families as they face issues of grief and loss stemming from a diagnosis, hospitalization, or death.
  • Spiritual Services (Chaplain): Offers spiritual support to patients and family members by creating an environment conducive to prayer and spirituality.
  • Music Therapist: Provides support to help children manage pain and anxiety. Musical activities allow the child to express feelings and be a part of family interactions.
  • Pharmacist: Assists in identification and coordination of therapies, both in the hospital and at home. Common medications may include pain control, anti-infectives, and fluid/hydration/nutrition therapies.
  • Psychologist: Provides counseling, education, and resource for coping with serious illness and assists with the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of social and emotional concerns.