Our Palliative Care program is called Helping Understand Guidance and Support (HUGS). The HUGS team works to provide emotional support to the family before, during, after the birth or death of the child.
Palliative Care is the specialized medical care for children with serious illnesses. It focuses on providing relief from symptoms, pain, and stress of a serious illness—whatever the diagnosis. The goal is to improve quality of life for both the child and the family. The combined efforts of the child’s parents and family, physicians, nurses, chaplains, hospice, and other resources provide compassionate and dignified care during the life of the child (whether it be years, months, weeks, days, hours, or even minutes). Palliative Care is also called “comfort care” because the focus is not on treatments that cure or prolong life, but on family-centered care that promote quality of life.
Pediatric palliative care is provided by a team of doctors, nurses and other specialists who work together with a child’s primary doctors as an extra layer of support. It is appropriate at any age and at any stage of an illness and can be provided along with treatment meant to cure.
Pediatric palliative care addresses serious medical conditions. It relieves the symptoms of these diseases, such as pain, shortness of breath, fatigue, constipation, nausea, loss of appetite and difficulty sleeping. In short, it helps the child and the family gain the strength to carry on with daily life. Above all, pediatric palliative care is family-centered. It helps with communication and coordination of care. With the close communication that palliative care provides, families are better able to choose options that are in line with their values, traditions and culture. This improves the well-being of the entire family.
HUGS team will can provide the following resources for families:
- Emotional support at diagnosis, during the child’s illness
- Aid creating a plan of care or birth plan for caregivers and a “voice” for the family
- Provide resources for spiritual and/or religious support
- Provide connections with other parents who have been through similar experiences
- Provide information and referrals as needed for therapists, pastoral care, hospice, and funeral directors
- Provide literature, online resources, and books pertaining to palliative care, creating memories with your baby, and planning your goodbye
- Assistance with arranging in home hospice care or at a hospice facility
- Support group meetings
Jean Dozier, MD
Umesh Narsinghani, MD
Beverly Knight Olson Children’s Hospital
888 Pine Street
Macon, GA 31201