This document is a brief summary of the Institute of Medicine report entitled When Children Die: Improving Palliative and End-of-Life Care for Children. Better care is possible now, but current methods of organizing and financing palliative, end-of-life, and bereavement care complicate the provision and coordination of services to help children and families and sometimes require families to choose between curative or life-prolonging care and palliative services, in particular, hospice care. Inadequate data and scientific knowledge impede efforts to deliver effective care, educate professionals to provide such care, and design supportive public policies. Integrating effective palliative care from the time a child's life-threatening medical problem is diagnosed will improve care for children who survive as well as children who die-and will help the families of all these children. The report recognizes that while much can be done now to support children and families, much more needs to be learned. The analysis and recommendations reflect current knowledge and judgments, but new research and insights will undoubtedly suggest modifications and shifts in emphasis in future years.
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