A Silent Cry: Paediatric Palliative Care in Ireland
Paediatric Palliative Care, being an evolving speciality with the unique challenges of children living longer because of advancing technology, has met with some difficult hurdles. With a variety of conditions, which are unique to paediatrics, this has led to many ethical and legal dilemmas.
Health policy and easy access to information regarding treatment options, has led to a more autonomous patient and family. The need for a Paediatric Palliative Care service has resulted.
Paediatric Palliative Care, whilst still in its infancy, has met with many challenges, but the overarching benefits for the child and family has helped to secure its place as a medical speciality.
The evolution of the service in Ireland is explored, along with the barriers faced and the plans for the future. In 2001 the Department of Health and Children, after assessing the palliative care services nationwide, realised that children with palliative care needs were unique to adults. Out of this the ‘Palliative Care Needs Assessment for Children’ document was published in 2005. Many challenges ensued, but with determination and compassion, Ireland has made steady progress in getting an effective equitable service off the ground. Progress to date and the plans for the future will be identified.