Palliative care for children represents a special, albeit closely related field to adult palliative care. WHO’s definition of palliative care appropriate for children and their families is as follows; the principles apply to other paediatric chronic disorders (WHO; 1998a):
Palliative care for children is the active total care of the child's body, mind and spirit, and also involves giving support to the family. It begins when illness is diagnosed, and continues regardless of whether or not a child receives treatment directed at the disease. Health providers must evaluate and alleviate a child's physical, psychological, and social distress. Effective palliative care requires a broad multidisciplinary approach that includes the family and makes use of available community resources; it can be successfully implemented even if resources are limited. It can be provided in tertiary care facilities, in community health centres and even in children's homes.
The ICPCN is the only international network of organisations and individuals working within all children’s palliative care services across the world. We believe that every life-limited child deserves a high standard of total care, wherever they live in the world.
The aim of palliative care is to achieve quality of life and a dignified death, preferably in a place of the child and family's choosing. All children with palliative care needs require an individual package of care including variable components of both generic and specialist palliative care provided in a planned, coordinated, timely and flexible manner as directed by need.