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Palliative Care

The mission of the Pediatric Palliative Care Program at DMC Children's Hospital of Michigan Mission is to provide compassionate, comprehensive and consistent care to children living with serious illnesses, and their families.

Children's Palliative Care - Support Services For Children With Life Threatening Illness - Children's Hospital of Michigan

What is Palliative Care?

Palliative Care (pronounced pal-lee-uh-tiv) offers support for patients and their families who are faced with complex medical problems.

The goal of palliative care is to enhance quality of life.  Palliative care recognizes that each family is unique and so there is a wide range of services available to help you through changing phases in your child’s course.  It can be appropriate at any time during an illness and can be provided at the same time as treatment that is aimed at cure. It can sometimes be challenging to know when to ask for help.

Palliative Care might be right for you if:

  • your child is in the hospital more and more
  • it is becoming harder to care for your child at home
  • treatments are not working or seem to be hurting more than helping
  • you are feeling overwhelmed or are having trouble coping
  • there are worries that your child could die
  • the number of doctors, appointments, and other needs has become confusing

Frequently asked Questions.

Who provides Palliative Care?

A team of experts includes pediatric palliative care doctors, nurses, social workers, chaplains, child life specialists, music therapists, physical and occupational therapists, pharmacists, nutritionists and others may also be involved.

Do I have to change doctors?

No. The Palliative Care Team works with your primary care doctor and the specialists involved in your child’s treatment.

Does insurance cover Palliative Care?

Most insurance plans cover all or part of Palliative Care, and many of the services are free.  If costs concern you, a social worker can help. 

Who besides my child can benefit from Palliative Care?

When a member of your family is sick, it effects the whole family and the community of people that support you.  We will work with you, your child, and your child’s brothers and sisters. We can even work with your child’s school or with other people that are important to your family.

Where is Palliative Care provided?

Palliative Care is provided wherever it works best for you.  We will visit your child and family in the hospital, at clinic appointments and also in the comfort of your own home.

Is Palliative Care another name for hospice?

No. Though hospice can be one part of Palliative Care, Palliative Care can  begin at the time of diagnosis of a serious illness. It is not limited to end-of-life care.

What should I expect from the Palliative Care Team?

  • Consistent support whether you are at home or in the hospital, through good times and bad
  • Expert management of pain and other sources of suffering and access to resources in the hospital and at home
  • 24 hour access to a physician or nurse who knows your child and understands what your family is going through
  • Clear and timely information to help you understand all that is going on with your child, and the role of each member of the medical staff
  • Family meetings that help answer questions and address fears about the future
  • A focus on adding meaning to your child’s life through memory making and the completion of realistic goals

 How can my child begin receiving Palliative Care?

Ask for it! Find out more from your child’s doctor or nurse, or call (313) 745-0883 or email chmpalliativecare@dmc.org

For a copy of the Children's Hospital of Michigan Palliative Care brochure click here.

Learn how the Palliative Care team helped a patient realize a life long goal. Click here for the full story.