Pediatric Palliative Care and Child Psychiatry: A Model for Enhancing Practice and Collaboration

J Palliat Med. 2016 Oct;19(10):1032-1038. doi: 10.1089/jpm.2015.0354. Epub 2016 Aug 23.


As the field of Pediatric Palliative Care continues to develop, it is important to consider the scope of practice and the utility of collaboration with other specialties, including child and adolescent psychiatry. The integration of psychiatry and palliative medicine has been explored in adult practice, but has not yet been elaborated in pediatrics. This article proposes a clinical model of care that highlights the overlapping and unique expertise that each discipline brings, in a continuum of collaboration, and proposes an integrated care model for the most complex patients and families. Case examples are used to define specific professional skills and roles, and to describe shared and distinct clinical approaches used by pediatric palliative care and child psychiatry. Effective collaboration provides opportunities for cross-disciplinary educational exchange and enhanced care of children and families with comorbid mental health issues and serious illness.