College of Arts and Sciences
Primary Subject Area
Health Sciences, Nursing
Palliative care is an integral part of providing adequate care for pediatric oncology patients. Whether the cancer is terminal or treatable, palliative care helps patients live their lives to the fullest by improving quality of life. Therefore, it is important to have a system to define and measure quality of life. Once quality of life can be quantitatively measured, nurses can use pain and symptom relief, psychosocial support, and spiritual care to improve it.
Pain management is essential to cancer recovery. Relief can be achieved through pharmacological or nonpharmacological methods; however, prophylactic pain relief is most beneficial. This means that the patient should be medicated or prepared to cope with the pain before experiencing the pain. Nonpharmacological methods are most valuable when adapted to the child’s locus of control and cognitive coping skills.
A caring nurse-patient relationship can encourage psychosocial and spiritual wellbeing through trust, understanding, presence, and support. Psychosocial support can help patients with any fears that they may be experiencing, such as the fear of losing normalcy or the fear of dying. Spiritual care can greatly influence the child’s hope and purpose in life as well. These combined foci of palliative care can improve quality of life for pediatric oncology patients and help them to a more successful recovery.