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Development of the Dutch Structure for Integrated Children’s Palliative Care

This article outlines the history and implementation of children’s palliative care (CPC) in the Netherlands. Children are complex little humans with anatomy, physiology, and mental development all changing as they grow. The authors found that there was not special treatment to accommodate the unique needs of children and their families. Unlike adult palliative care, children and young adults have different needs and wants in terms of end of life and advance care planning. For example, parents often take on a more complex role when a child is involved, and this can have an impact on the whole family structure including parental partners and siblings if applicable. One of the most sought after needs parents suggested was a point of contact person within the care team, but this was rarely found in practice. Over the course of ten years the authors document and comment on the improvement of CPC, while also depicting globally how much work still needs to be done. Most recently in 2018 a national center of expertise in children’s palliative care was developed in the Netherlands and is now a recognized specialty.

Vallianatos, S., Huizinga, C. S., Schuiling-Otten, M. A., Schouten-van Meeteren, A. Y., Kremer, L. C., & Verhagen, A. A. (2021). Development of the Dutch structure for integrated children’s palliative care. Children, 8(9), 741.

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