Copyright ©2012 Baishideng. All rights reserved.
World J Clin Pediatr. Oct 8, 2012; 1(3): 13-19
Published online Oct 8, 2012. doi: 10.5409/wjcp.v1.i3.13
Pediatric palliative care - The role of the patient’s family
Carl Friedrich Classen
Carl Friedrich Classen, Oncology/Hematology Unit, University Children’s Hospital, D-18057 Rostock, Germany
Author contributions: Classen CF solely contributed to this paper.
Correspondence to: Carl Friedrich Classen, MD, PhD, Oncology/Hematology Unit, University Children’s Hospital, Ernst-Heydemann-Str. 8, D-18057 Rostock, Germany.
Telephone: +49-381-4947262 Fax: +49-381-4947261
Received: March 3, 2012
Revised: August 15, 2012
Accepted: September 23, 2012
Published online: October 8, 2012

Whenever a child suffers, what does she or he cry Mother! What does that mean Palliative care is not a type of medicine based on objective evidence or statistics. The only relevant standard is the very individual quality of life. Nobody knows better what this actually means but the patient himself. Thus, if the mother’s presence has the biggest impact on a child’s wellbeing or comfort, she herself is the most valuable treatment modality. In nearly every publication dealing with pediatric palliative care, it is stated that palliative care does not only imply care for the sick child but also for the parents and the whole family. Usually, it is pointed out that they are suffering a lot as well. But helping them does also mean: helping the child! Of course, it means higher efforts, obligations and costs for the healthcare system. Thus the justification of this effort may be put in question; in particular, it may be argued that disorders of family members should, if necessary, be treated as such. But this is only one side of the coin! In the following, we will, based on published literature, look at the role of mothers, fathers, and siblings for the wellbeing of an ill or even dying child. As a conclusion, we will learn that if it is our task to give a dying child the best available care, helping mothers, fathers and sibling is an inevitable part of it.

Keywords: Palliative care, Children, Parent, Siblings