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Paediatric pallative care is a field distinct from adult palliative care, although there are many overlaps in language, approach and philosophy. Several features, however, distinguish paediatric palliative care. The illnesses that affect children are different from those that are most predominant in the adult population. In addition, the role and involvement of the family, while always important in palliative care generally, is heightened in paediatric palliative care. In this new and growing interdisciplinary speciality, paediatric palliative care professionals recognize that children exist within a family system, with individual members making up the components (1). These distinguishing characteristics mean that we cannot simply translate general or adult palliative care research to the paediatric arena. Canada has been a leader in the development of clinical paediatric palliative care, with programs in the major Canadian geographical centres, as well as North America’s first free-standing children’s hspice, Canuck Place Children’s Hospice (Vancouver, British COlumbia). At the same time, there is widespread acknowledgement that not enough research has been undertaken within paediatric palliative care to provide an adequate evidence base for practice. To increase research capacity in Canada, in 2004, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research funded a research program entitled ‘Transitions in Pediatric Palliative and End-of-Life Care’ through a New Emerging Team grant.


This article was originally published in Paediatrics & Child Health, 13(7): 591-594. © 2008 Pulsus Group

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