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Palliative nursing care for children and adolescents with cancer

Authors Foster T, Bell, McDonald, Harris, Gilmer

Received 19 January 2012

Accepted for publication 21 March 2012

Published 15 June 2012 Volume 2012:2 Pages 17—25


Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Terrah L Foster,1,2 Cynthia J Bell,1 Carey F McDonald,2 Joy S Harris,3 Mary Jo Gilmer,1,2
1Vanderbilt University School of Nursing, Nashville, 2Monroe Carell Jr Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt, Nashville, 3Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, USA

Abstract: Pediatric palliative care aims to enhance life and decrease suffering of children and adolescents living with life-threatening conditions and their loved ones. Oncology nurses are instrumental in providing palliative care to pediatric oncology populations. This paper describes pediatric palliative care and provides an overview of literature related to the physical, psychological, social, and spiritual domains of palliative nursing care for children and adolescents with cancer. Nurses can provide optimal palliative care by accounting for children's understanding of death, encouraging early initiation of palliative care services, and improving utilization of pediatric palliative care in cancer settings. Specific roles of registered nurses and advanced practice nurses in pediatric palliative care will be addressed. Recommendations for future research are made to further advance the science of pediatric palliative care and decrease suffering for children and teens with cancer.

Keywords: pediatric palliative care, pediatric cancer, oncology, child, suffering

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