What is the Palliative Care Program?

The Palliative Care Program is for any family whose child is facing a serious, possibly life-threatening illness.

We understand that each family is different. We take a personalized approach to address the physical, psychological, social and other effects a possibly life-threatening illness can have on a family.

The team includes specialists in palliative care for children and teens:

  • Doctors
  • Nurse practitioners
  • Nurse care coordinators
  • Palliative care consultants who may have a background in social work, chaplaincy or nursing

We work with you and your child’s medical teams to ensure that your preferences are always considered and that you are given all the available options.

How We Can Help

The Palliative Care Program supports you in being an active participant in the care planning and decision-making for your child.

  • We work with your child’s healthcare team to help you make treatment choices that are right for you and your child.
  • We help make sure the goals of your child and family remain at the center of all discussions with your child’s healthcare providers.

This can take many forms, from care planning conferences to technical or psychological support when you are facing complicated medical decisions.

When your family has been referred to the Palliative Care team, you decide how much you would like us to be involved in your child’s care. Our support can include:

  • Being there for you throughout the many different stages of your child’s care
  • Working with your medical team to discuss different ways of managing symptoms
  • Helping you understand what can sometimes be complex medical communications
  • Keeping your family’s goals, hopes and values at the center of the decision-making process

How to Access Our Services

The Palliative Care Program is available through referral. Your child’s primary medical team can submit a referral, or you may speak directly to your care team and ask for a referral.

After your provider places a referral, a member of our team will arrange a time to meet with you and your family.

If you have any questions or would like to learn more, please call the Palliative Care program coordinator at 206-987-7459. We are open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Once your family has begun working with us, our doctors are on call 24/7 through the hospital operator or your child’s bedside nurse.

Services We Provide

We will work with you in whatever way is most helpful to you. Among the services we offer are:

  • Families often choose to take part in a care planning meeting. This meeting can include your child, family members, doctor, home-care nurses and therapists, alternative healthcare providers, school staff, spiritual advisors or any others you want to invite. Together we go over health issues and treatment options. Depending on your family's unique needs and wishes, our discussion can include many other topics. We talk about quality of life and the ways treatment may affect your child's ability to do the things they love. We also talk about ways to get support in your community. A team member takes notes so that you will have a guide to the choices you make and the topics we cover. You can update the notes as often as you need to.

  • We developed the Decision-Making Tool to help your family talk about what is important to you and your child. It also helps make sure that your child's healthcare team understands what you want, how to work with you and how best to care for your child. The tool helps you, your family and your child think about the care you want. It also gives you a plan that you can update as often as you need to. After you review your family's Decision-Making Tool, we place it in your child's chart so that your child's healthcare team can learn about your decisions. Families often work through the tool with us at a care planning meeting. Read more. (PDF)

  • Throughout all phases of treatment, we work closely with families whose children are undergoing complex procedures. Our team works with the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance so that every child who has a bone marrow or stem cell transplant has one Palliative Care consultant to work with. We provide a Decision-Making Tool (PDF) for your family, and make it available to everyone who will care for your child.