Intensive-care units

Brian Carter and Finella Craig

in Oxford Textbook of Palliative Care for Children

Second edition

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780199595105
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199665020 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Textbooks In Palliative Medicine

Intensive-care units

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  • Paediatrics
  • Palliative Medicine
  • Critical Care


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Intensive-care and palliative care teams may at first seem to be polar opposites — with one focusing on the utilization of advanced technologies directed towards saving or prolonging life, and the other focusing on providing comfort and support, accepting death as a likely outcome. However, the one place that provides a natural interface for these teams with different goals is the ICU. Here children and families face potential or inevitable death, and even alongside attempts to save or prolong life, they need the care that is at the heart of palliation. Where ICU and palliative care meet, children can receive the most advanced technology alongside skilled, holistic, supportive care, and both teams can work together with families to facilitate appropriate support as goals change. Palliative care is now increasingly being integrated into the care of patients and families in both the neonatal and paediatric ICU settings. With focused research aimed at healthcare service delivery, effective symptom management, and the role of palliative care consultants in the ICU, the potential to broaden and improve palliative care in the ICU will be further advanced for all children and their families. The surprise is not that these two services should be integrated, but rather that it has taken us so long to realize the importance of such integration.

Chapter.  7417 words. 

Subjects: Paediatrics ; Palliative Medicine ; Critical Care

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