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Br J Nurs. 2010 Aug 12-Sep 8;19(15):977-81.

The developing role of children's nurses in community palliative care.

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  • 1Our Lady's Children Hospital, Dublin.


This article addresses some of the contemporary issues in relation to providing palliative care for children in Ireland, particularly focusing on the creation of the specialist palliative care nursing outreach posts. The recent publication of an Irish national policy on palliative care for children with life-limiting illness is welcome news for paediatric nurses in Ireland. Children are valued members of society and have a right to receive quality health care and support appropriate to meet both children and the families' precise needs. However, community services for children with life-limiting illnesses remain inadequate, with many parents and families struggling to provide palliative care for children in the home. Currently, community nurses, who are not always registered children's nurses, are providing palliative care for children at the end of life. These nurses may not fully understand the specific needs of critically or chronically ill children and their families. In addition, there are no specific palliative care educational programmes in Ireland with regard to end-of-life care for children. The challenges of providing palliative care to children and their families in relation to symptom control, controversial ethical and legal issues, and emotional and practical support, mean that advanced knowledge is required in order to progress the agenda and thus provide excellence in children's palliative care in Ireland. It is important that the agenda is moved forward so that children and their families requiring palliative care and nursing support do not suffer from a lack of professional provision for their needs.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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