A survey of signs, symptoms and symptom control in 30 terminally ill children

Dev Med Child Neurol. 1990 Apr;32(4):341-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8749.1990.tb16946.x.


The notes of 30 terminally ill children with various diagnoses were searched for reports of symptoms that had occurred during their last month of life. All had stayed at Helen House, a hospice for children, for part or all of that time. The results were analysed for symptom frequency and resistance to treatment. Over four-fifths of the children were recorded as having pain in the last month of life. In a smaller number, symptoms such as muscle spasm and excessive secretions proved particularly difficult to control. The identification of symptoms in brain-damaged and young children, and the control of some of the more resistant symptoms, are discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Brain Neoplasms / complications
  • Brain Neoplasms / mortality*
  • Brain Neoplasms / physiopathology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Mucopolysaccharidoses / complications
  • Mucopolysaccharidoses / mortality*
  • Mucopolysaccharidoses / physiopathology
  • Nervous System Diseases / complications
  • Nervous System Diseases / mortality*
  • Nervous System Diseases / physiopathology
  • Pain / etiology
  • Pain / physiopathology*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Terminal Care*