World Health Organization Definition of Palliative Care Palliative care is an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing the problem associated with life-threatening illness, through the prevention and relief of suffering by means of early identification and assessment and treatment of pain and other problems, physical, psychosocial and spiritual. Palliative care:
provides relief from pain and other distressing symptoms
affirms life and regards dying as a normal process
intends neither to hasten or postpone death
integrates the psychological and spiritual aspects of patient care
offers a support system to help patients live as actively as possible until death
offers a support system to help the family cope during the patients illness and in their own bereavement
uses a team approach to address the needs of patients and their families, including bereavement counseling, if indicated
will enhance quality of life, and may also positively influence the course of illness
is applicable early in the course of illness, in conjunction with other therapies that are intended to prolong life, such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy, and includes those investigations needed to better understand and manage distressing clinical complications.
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: (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.
Intends neither to hasten or postpone death
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 centers and even in children’s homes.
This glossary was created by the Haslinger Family Pediatric Palliative Care Center at the Akron’s Children’s Hospital in Akron, Ohio. Haslinger Family Pediatric Palliative Care Center (n.d.) Retrieved July 31, 2009.
We would like to thank the Children’s Hospice and Palliative Care Coalition of California for the development of this list of acronyms and allowing us to post it here on our PPCC-PA website.
PPCC is not a health care provider and does not give medical advice or treatment. PPCC does not endorse or recommend any listed facilities, service providers, or support groups herein. PPCC offers the list and information as a resource only. PPCC does not pre-evaluate, or consider the Medicare/Medicaid status of the providers.