Contributions of Psychology and Psychiatry to Pediatric Palliative Care

Comprehensive pediatric palliative care demands the integration of specialized contributions from multiple disciplines to address the medical, psychological, social, and spiritual concerns of the child and family (Joint Working Party on Palliative Care for Adolescents and Young Adults 2001; Institute of Medicine 2003). The specific and unique contributions provided by child mental health clinicians include evaluation of the child's psychological status, diagnosis of psychological or psychiatric symptoms and disturbance, provision of psychotherapy and psychotropic medication, and consultation to families and the treatment team. Healthy siblings are also included within this network of care. Thus, under optimal circumstances, the various contributions of child mental health clinicians can play a pivotal role in the integration of the patient's comprehensive palliative care plan.

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