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Pediatric Palliative Care

Pediatric palliative care is for children with serious chronic and/or life-limiting conditions, and their families.

Elements of pediatric palliative care include:

  • Symptom management
  • Coordination of care
  • Care goals
  • Communication

There are many members of the pediatric palliative care team: physician and physician assistant, nurse, medical social worker, chaplain and child life specialist. Each team member contributes expertise to help develop a plan that will optimize your child's quality of life.

Symptom management

Symptom management is vital for your child and family. Team members will work with your family to create a plan of care that manages symptoms effectively and consistently. These symptoms might include pain, loss of mobility, easy fatigue, constipation, vomiting, sleeplessness, anxiety and depression. Our goal is to find the best way to make every day a good day, as often as possible.

Coordination of care

Coordination of care may start by simply identifying all the providers and specialists who are involved with your child's medical care. It is important to have effective communication between the many individuals involved in health management decisions. Sometimes coordination of care involves other agencies, such as schools or community services. Sometimes transportation and scheduling of health visits and services can be improved. The pediatric palliative care team will work with your family to improve coordination of care and timeliness of care delivery.

Care goals

The pediatric palliative care team will help identify your family's expectations and aspirations to enable your child to flourish. Goals for full living may change over time, and our team will ensure active goals of care are available to providers whenever your child is receiving healthcare services. We will work together to identify and update goals of care as your child's needs change.


The pediatric palliative care team will facilitate communication between your child's providers and will advocate for your child and family in all venues of the healthcare system. Ways to support communication include:

  • Family care conferences
  • Collaboration and meetings with other healthcare teams
  • Coordination of community resources
  • Documentation, in the medical record, of any family concerns about care
  • Advance care planning

Palliative Care is a department of Gundersen Lutheran Medical Center.

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