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Palliative Care vs. hospice care

You may hear about Palliative Care and Hospice Care and wonder which one is appropriate for your child. Both offer support and comfort to maintain your child’s quality of life, but each has a very different purpose. 

Palliative Care is given at any stage of a potentially life-threatening illness or injury. Reducing symptoms or relieving pain is the goal, along with support services that meet the needs of the whole child. Families are supported emotionally and spiritually through the process of complex care planning. 

Hospice Care serves patients at the end-of-life stage. If your doctor determines that treatments are no longer helpful, hospice care provides comfort and compassion to the patient and loved ones.

When is complex care planning vs. palliative care needed? 

If your child is facing a potentially life-threatening condition or injury, your focus is on making sure they have the best quality of life possible. Our Palliative Care team navigates the health care system for you; we coordinate the type of support you and your family need, when you need it. The care can be long- or short-term and can evolve with time to meet the changing needs and wishes of your child and your family.

Our promise to you

At Randall Children’s Hospital, we are more than Palliative Care experts; we act as part of your family and your care team. We work with you and your child’s physicians to create a comfort care plan that addresses the physical, emotional, social and spiritual needs of your whole family.  

Before we begin Palliative Care, we will meet with your doctors to discuss your child’s current condition and how things might change over time. Working with your family, we’ll determine the best course of care for your child, and we’ll offer a list of no-cost services designed to help you with coping, decision-making and general well-being. Throughout Palliative Care, your child will be in a warm and safe environment, and we will be available to you to discuss any concerns or questions you may have.

Your care team 

You are never alone. Our multi-skilled team of palliative specialists surrounds your family with compassion and care. We will walk with you through this journey to meet your every need. Your Palliative Care team may include:  

  • Palliative Care doctor or nurse practitioner coordinates medical and non-medical care for your child. 
  • Your child’s other doctors/specialists offer updates on your child’s health and how it may determine Palliative Care. 
  • Nurses extend care and compassion to meet your child’s current needs. 
  • Social workers and Child Life Specialists provide counseling and support for your entire family. 
  • Pharmacists work with your child’s doctors for medications that relieve pain and improve quality of life. 
  • Chaplains are available at any time to provide spiritual support. 
  • Physical therapists lend their expertise to enhance your child’s quality of life.   

What happens next? 

We can’t see exactly what the future holds. But we can offer an unparalleled level of care along with services designed to bring comfort to your child and your family. 

How to access our services 

The Palliative Care Program is available through referral. Your child’s primary medical team can submit a referral, or you may speak directly to your care team and ask for a referral. 

After your provider places a referral, a member of our team will arrange a time to meet with you and your family. Then if you have questions about our services, reach out to us: 503-413-4668.

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MyHealth gives you access to your child's medical records. View test results, diagnoses, medications, follow-up instructions, make an appointment and more.   

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