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We can improve palliative care for very ill children and their families.

The life-threatening illness or death of a child is overwhelming and hard to face. This booklet outlines ways health care professionals, policy makers, insurers, and family advocates can work together to improve the kind of care very ill or dying children receive.

We can help create a care system that all children and families can rely on and trust. We can:

  • Help prevent or relieve pain and suffering.

  • Provide children and families with the information they need.

  • Give them emotional support.

  • Respect families’ choices and values.

  • Help families make difficult decisions.

These are some of the ways palliative care supports and comforts children and their families.


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The nation turns to the National Academies—National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine, and National Research Council—for independent, objective advice on issues that affect people’s lives worldwide.

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