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Palliative Care and Hospice

Palliative Care and Hospice
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Author(s): Danielle Eaves Hernandez (Community Hospice and Palliative Care, USA), Emmalee Tresnan (Community Hospice and Palliative Care, USA)and Magellan Taylor-Brickey (The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, USA)
Copyright: 2023
Pages: 26
Source title: The Role of Child Life Specialists in Community Settings
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Genevieve Lowry (Bank Street College of Education, USA), Lindsey Murphy (Missouri State University, USA)and Cara Smith (Missouri State University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-6684-5097-0.ch004


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This chapter explores the emerging field of child life specialists' (CLS) role in hospital and community-based palliative and hospice care services. Relying heavily on their knowledge of child development, play, family systems, and grief to support patients and families through the trajectory of one's illness, child life specialists can adapt their skills to provide support in this environment. A CLS cannot change what is happening medically but can promote positive experiences for children involved to mitigate the potential trauma, ideally resulting in more positive psychosocial outcomes. Goals of care for CLSs in these settings can include developmentally appropriate education about a diagnosis, treatment plan, physical changes, prognosis, or end of life; various forms of play and therapeutic interventions for processing and the expression of feelings or emotions; memory-making; legacy building; anticipatory grief support; promoting opportunities to say goodbye; funeral or memorial preparation and advocacy for involvement; and bereavement support.

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