Pediatric Patients Receiving Palliative Care in Canada

A multicenter review of 8 dedicated pediatric palliative care programs in Canada, published in Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine in June 2007, estimates that nationally "between 5% and 12% of the children who could benefit from palliative care received services" and concludes that "Pediatric palliative care programs in Canada care for a diverse population of patients with a wide range of age and disease conditions. Only a small percentage of children who die, however, receive services from these dedicated programs." The review is based on 317 children cared for during 2002 and 2003. Over the last three years, hard work and determined communication have raised these numbers, there are now 4.5 palliative care professionals at SickKids Hospital and referrals are up. We are however still far from normalizing palliative care access to families early in the care of kids with long term or severe health challenges. Thanks to Maria Rugg at SickKids Hospital, one of the study's co-authors, for pointing us to this report.

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