It's All About the Messaging-Pediatric Palliative Care and Communication (218)

4:15 pm – 5:15 pm Friday, September 16

Each year, approximately 16,800 children are diagnosed with cancer. With this diagnosis comes both the hope for a cure and the fear of death. Both hope and fear require our attention and understanding. Children diagnosed with cancer need skilled intradisciplinary treatment teams that provide guidance and support in decisions related to therapy modalities aimed at treating the cancer. Aiming for cure is the hope of all children and families facing a cancer diagnosis. Goals of therapy become very important to designing the best treatment for the child.

Just as precision medicine may assist in choosing the best therapy to attack the cancer, precision supportive care may assist in helping the child and family to better manage symptoms and enhance their ability to cope during the treatment process. A palliative care team may provide an “extra layer of support” in the early stages of diagnosis for children with high risk disease, widely metastatic disease, and relapsed/progressive disease. This support aides in identifying those things most important to these children and their families thereby allowing the team to focus on quality of life aspects that are congruent with their goals of care. However, oncology providers are often hesitant to offer palliative care services in these early stages due to their belief that families may feel the providers are “giving up” or feel their child has less chance of a curative outcome. Concurrent care strategies involving curative as well as palliative care are often misunderstood by both providers and families. Providing the best “messaging” when introducing palliative care is an important step in allaying these fears and increasing the support these children and their family experience. This session will discuss barriers to palliative care, while emphasizing communication techniques to enhance access to palliative care services for children with cancer.

CNE Hours: