The Pediatric Palliative Care Team at Lurie Children’s provides support to patients and families faced with potentially life-limiting conditions, regardless of stage or prognosis.
Our interdisciplinary team uses a comprehensive approach that focuses on the physical, psychological, social and spiritual needs of patients with serious illnesses. We help patients and families work with the clinical team to align their values and goals with the chosen medical therapies. We also help address any hopes, worries or troubling symptoms to make sure that every day is as good as possible.
Palliative Care Services for Families Include:
Improving the management of pain and other symptoms
Maximizing quality of life for the patient and family
Advocating for effective communication between the patient, family and healthcare team
Assisting patients and families in decision-making that is reflective of their values and preferences
Providing emotional support when facing difficult circumstances
Coordinating care between the hospital and home-based hospice or palliative care services (visits by nurses, social workers, chaplains and, when available, art and music therapists when appropriate)
Perinatal Palliative Care focuses on providing comprehensive care to families who are coping with a possibly life-limiting prenatal or neonatal diagnosis. Often there is no right or wrong way to proceed once such diagnosis is given and many families struggle with making difficult decisions.
We communicate closely with all physicians involved in the care of a family, including the obstetricians and newborn specialists at Prentice Women’s Hospital/Northwestern Memorial Hospital, as well as pediatric sub-specialists at Lurie Children’s. In this way, we seek to collaborate with all providers and families in establishing goals of care at each phase of this challenging journey.
Preparing for Your Consultation
Preparing for your meeting with palliative care can help you better clarify your goals, hopes and concerns regarding your child’s illness and treatment. Children are often concerned about how their illness will affect their ability to enjoy daily activities like going to school, seeing their friends and playing sports — or any number of other activities that they might enjoy. Parents may have their own concerns, including how their child can live a life free of discomfort and participate in family activities.
While your child is receiving treatment you may be presented with options about care, including different types of therapy — each of which may carry its own risks and benefits. It is important to think about how those therapies may affect your child’s quality of life in the framework of your hopes and goals. These are issues you can discuss with our team.
Here are some examples of questions you might think about and discuss with your child and your family before your palliative care consultation:
When it comes to my child’s quality of life, what is most important?
What should the medical team know about my child and my family to better understand what is important to us when making decisions?
What concerns or worries do my child and my family have about symptoms or day to day quality of life? How might potential treatments affect my child’s quality of life?
How might potential treatments affect my child’s prognosis and what might happen without the treatment?
Could treatments and/or interventions make my child feel better or worse, and if so, for how long? Are there things we can do to make it easier?
What additional support would my child and my family look for from the Palliative Care Team?
You can reach our team from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday by calling our office number: 312.227.6833.
For urgent questions during evenings and weekends, call Lurie Children’s operator at 312.227.4000 and ask for the palliative care physician on-call.
The Division of Palliative Care offers a one-year, ACGME-accredited clinical fellowship in hospice and palliative medicine, co-sponsored by the Hospice and Palliative Care program at Magee Medical Center/Northwestern Memorial Hospital. Successful completion of the program qualifies fellows to take the hospice and palliative medicine certifying examination. In addition, the division offers clinical electives in palliative care for Lurie Children’s pediatric residents, fellows in other pediatric subspecialties and Feinberg medical students. Division members also provide didactic conferences for pediatrics residents and for Lurie Children’s staff members in a variety of clinical professions.