Parents' perception about the children's hospice services play crucial role in determining the qualities of such palliative care providers, since the number of families obtaining the services of hospice homes are increasing. Thus the benefits derived from children's hospice services are awaiting the feedback from parent consumers to continuously change the shape and identity of services.
The medical prognosis may assess the nature of a terminal illness but cannot ascertain the actual time of end of a patient. This being the strength of medical science, the palliative care cannot be rejected outright as redundant. It is an opportunity to provide a very special care to the loved kids, who face death in the near future or at a distance, thereby implying the acceptance of a poor prognosis. The National Academies' Institute of Medicine, USA, has boldly suggested that all physicians in paediatric medicine should well be trained in the field of palliative, end-of-life and bereavement care to children. (National Academies Institute of Medicine, USA).
There exists a hairline demarcation between hospice services and palliative care services. Hospice services are based on the philosophy of providing comfort and support to terminally ill patients and their families when the life expectancy of the patients is in months. Hospiceprovides support for the emotional, social and spiritual impact of the disease on the patient and family through a team-oriented approach of specially trained professionals. Most hospices have a set of defined services, team members, rules and regulations. Hospice programs generally offer counselling and bereavement services to patients and families both before and after a patient's death. Palliative care services are rendered on the same principles as hospice care for patients with life-threatening illness. Palliative care looks at the emotional and social issues that occur as a result of a serious illness and the effect on the family as well as the patient. Palliative care for patients and their families also involves the comprehensive management of physical, psychological, social, spiritual and existential needs. Palliative care ideally begins at the time of diagnosis of a life-threatening or debilitating condition and continues throughout the person's life. Although palliative care may be an appropriate part of treatment of any complex or serious illness or injury, it is vital in the care of life threatening and/or incurable, progressive conditions. Palliative care is also integral to all health care delivery system settings like hospital, emergency department, home care, outpatient and non-traditional environments such as schools. The interdisciplinary team collaborates with all caregivers in each of these settings, in order to ensure coordination, communication, and continuity of palliative care across institutional and home care settings. Palliative care services generally provide
Access to an interdisciplinary team
Strategies to optimise pain and symptom management
Help with communication between family and the primary care team
Enhancing quality of life with emphasis on meaningfulness
Assistance with decision-making
Coordination of inpatient, outpatient, and home care