Palliative Care Team

The Paediatric Palliative Care Team is based at Starship Children's Hospital.
The term "palliative care" is used to describe the care and support that is provided to people who have a life-limiting or life-threatening illness.
  • Life-limiting conditions are those for which there is no reasonable hope of cure and from which children or young people will die. Some of these conditions can cause children to deteriorate over time, making them increasingly dependent on parents and carers.
  • Life-threatening conditions are those for which curative treatment may be possible but may fail, such as children with cancer. This does not include children who have had successful curative treatment or are in long-term remission.

In the case of children, palliative care involves:

  • ensuring the child is comfortable and in the best possible condition so that they can go about doing things that are important and fun (such as going to school or kindergarten)
  • helping families with difficult decisions
  • supporting parents
  • helping parents to support their child around any worries or questions they might have
  • helping parents support the brothers and sisters of the sick child
  • providing practical help with equipment, medications and respite care
  • ensuring families are able to access support in bereavement.

"Palliative care for children and young people is an active and total approach to care, from the point of diagnosis, throughout the child’s life, death and beyond. It embraces physical, emotional, social and spiritual elements and focuses on the enhancement of quality of life for the child or young person and support for the whole family. It includes the management of distressing symptoms, provision of short breaks, care at the end of life and bereavement support". The Association of Children's Palliative Care (ACT), UK and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child HEalth (RCPCH), UK. 2003.

The aim of palliative care is to achieve the best quality of life for children until they die, whenever that may be, preferably in a place of the child's and family's choosing.
For more information, see:
Who are we?
The Paediatric Palliative Care service is a multidisciplinary team, comprising a:
  • Specialist Paediatrician 
  • Nurse Specialist 
  • Social Worker
  • Child Psychotherapist
  • Child Psychiatrist

The team is based at Starship Children's Health but most of the time works in the community. Team members assess individual needs, co-ordinate access to community resources, provide a link between hospital and community and liaise with and support community carers such as general practitioners, and children's community nurses.


  • Dr Louise Webster Child Psychiatrist
  • Dr Emily Chang Paediatrician

Referral Expectations

Children and families will generally be seen within a week of referral unless a more urgent need is identified.

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