Pediatric palliative care in the medical neighborhood for children with medical complexity.

Children with medical complexity (CMC) are a medically fragile pediatric population that experience severe chronic illnesses resulting in significant health care needs, functional limitations, and health care utilization, and are at the highest risk for morbidity and mortality among all children. Furthermore, families and parents of CMC experience significant caregiver hardships and diminished quality of life. The field of pediatric palliative care has grown in recent years, in part to address the physical and psychosocial issues inherent to the care of these chronically ill children. However, as the prevalence and long-term survival of CMC increases with medical advancements, the demand for pediatric palliative care will likely exceed the capacity of current and future pediatric palliative care specialists. Therefore, alternative strategies to ensure access to essential aspects of palliative care must be considered. This article focuses on why and how high-quality palliative care should be integrated into the patient- and family-centered medical home, the ideal care delivery model for CMC and their families. We first discuss how palliative care principles naturally align with and complement the goals of the CMC medical home. Next, we detail what actions pediatric palliative care specialists can take to best support the CMC medical home as “medical neighbors.” Lastly, we describe the fundamental aspects of pediatric palliative care that all clinicians caring for CMC should be able to provide, referred to as “primary pediatric palliative care.” (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)