What is Pediatric Hospice Care

Pediatric hospice care specializes in treating children with serious illnesses and those who need end of life care. Patients are generally children between birth and 21 years of age. However, hospice care can start for some patients even before birth. It also may continue past the age of 21 depending on the symptoms and prognosis. A primary difference between pediatric hospice care and general hospice care is that curative treatments stop when a patient enters hospice care. With pediatric care, curative treatments can continue alongside hospice services.

Who Provides Pediatric Hospice Care?

A pediatric hospice care team includes an interdisciplinary group of doctors and nurses, social workers, a chaplain, therapists and trained volunteers. Their goal is to provide support in a myriad of ways from helping with symptom relief and pain management, to offering a listening ear for a parent who is uncertain or afraid about the future, to helping a family find connections with their own spiritual beliefs. Having this level of support helps parents to focus on caring for a child with a serious diagnosis at home without feeling like they have to compromise on caring for themselves or other family members.

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What is Family-Centric Hospice Care?

While the pediatric hospice team is important in providing support and care, a family-centric approach is always fitting and utilized to establish goals and meet needs. The hospice team works closely with parents and the child’s medical team, as well as the child and any siblings, as appropriate, to achieve optimal physical, emotional and spiritual health. Parents take the lead in building the plan of care. Throughout this process, thoughtful guidance and advice is always provided by the Salus Hospice team and the child’s primary physician.

Who Pays for Pediatric Hospice Care?

Once a plan of care is established, all needs related to the child’s terminal diagnosis are delivered to the patient. These might include medications, equipment, supplies for mobility or other essential needs. These items are typically fully covered by Medicaid or private insurance, as are all services provided to patients and their families in hospice care.

Time Limits for Care

There is no time limit for how long a child can remain in hospice care. However, their doctor must continue to confirm the need for this level of care. Should a child pass away, continued support is available in the form of grief counseling to help the family find comfort and discover peace and closure.

Specialized pediatric hospice care provides support and relief to younger patients through integrative services and a family-centric approach. If your child is coping with a severe medical diagnosis, Salus Hospice of Utah is here to help. Contact us, and let’s work together to develop an effective, comforting and compassionate plan for care.