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Pediatric Palliative Care

Adult and child's hands intertwined

Johns Hopkins Children’s Center provides palliative care — comprehensive management of physical, psychological, social and spiritual needs of children with serious illness and their families — through the Johns Hopkins Pediatric Palliative Care program. Our goal is to promote the best possible quality of life for the child and family, whether or not cure is possible. Our services include pain and symptom control, emotional and spiritual support, advance care planning, and grief and bereavement support services.

As the only hospital in Maryland with a pediatric palliative care program, we assist patients from the prenatal period to young adulthood throughout the Children’s Center. Our interdisciplinary team provides an added layer of support to children and families as they pursue therapies or interventions for a variety of medical conditions, including treatments for cancer, progressive diseases, genetic conditions or any other very serious illness. Our team can also assist with communication between the child’s other medical providers and the family, working toward a plan which accounts for the comprehensive needs of the child.

Our team also works closely with families who expect to deliver or have recently delivered an infant with a serious illness. We support families as they celebrate their new baby and face the possibility that the infant’s life may be short. Our team can work with families even before birth, offering emotional and spiritual support, birth plans and sibling support.

Holding Space: Palliative Care in the NICU at Johns Hopkins Children's Center

The expectation and arrival of a new baby is supposed to be a joyful time in a family’s life, but many parents are left reeling when they receive the heartbreaking news that their baby likely won’t live long. Four families share their experiences of loss in Johns Hopkins Children's Center's NICU, and staff speak about the services available through Johns Hopkins’ Perinatal Palliative Care Program to support parents facing the unimaginable: the death of their baby.

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