What is Pediatric Palliative Care?
Palliative care is specialized medical care for individuals living with serious illnesses. Palliative care is appropriate at any age and focuses on relieving symptoms that cause pain, suffering, and stress. The goal is to improve the quality of life for both the patient and their family. Palliative care provides comprehensive management of the patient and family’s physical, psychosocial, and spiritual needs, and is available from the time of diagnosis or at any time during an illness.
Palliative care can be provided along with curative, as well as, life enhancing treatments and care.
What is the PACCT Program?
The David E. Zullo Pediatric Advanced Comprehensive Care Team (PACCT) is a unique palliative care program dedicated to providing the highest quality and comprehensive care. Care is provided from infancy to young adulthood for patients living with a serious chronic, complex, or life threatening illness. PACCT is a family centered program which strives to improve the patients and their families’ quality of life. The Team’s goal is to allow for the best quality of life for the patient and their family.
The program offers seamless interdisciplinary continuity of care for the physical, psychosocial, and spiritual needs in the inpatient, outpatient, and home care settings. Studies have shown that it is most beneficial for patients, families, and healthcare providers, to integrate palliative care services from the time a serious illness is diagnosed and continue throughout the course of the illness.
What PACCT can provide:
The PACCT program provides comprehensive management of the patient and family’s physical, psychosocial, and spiritual needs. This care includes but is not limited to:
- Managing symptoms that cause discomfort
- Facilitating improved communication between the patient, family members, and the healthcare team
- Assisting the primary physician in the discussion of treatment options and developing a plan of care
- Assisting patients and their families in decisions that best reflect their values and preferences
- Coordinating the care for patients with complex care needs
- Communicating with community agencies to facilitate coordination of care
- Developing treatment plans that focus on the improving patients’ and families’ quality of life
Palliative care is intended to achieve the best quality of life for the patient and their family during all aspects of an illness, regardless of the patient’s prognosis. If needed, the PACCT Team can provide comprehensive end of life care that is directed to the individual needs and goals of the patient and their family. Additional services of the PACCT team include: Advanced care planning, psychosocial and spiritual support at end of life, and grief and bereavement counseling.
How does PACCT work?
The PACCT team consists of an interdisciplinary team of healthcare providers which includes physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses, counselors, social workers, and a parent advocate. The patient’s primary care physician will make a referral to the team and a comprehensive palliative care assessment will be completed. The PACCT team works in collaboration with the patient’s primary physician and all other healthcare providers and specialists to provide seamless communication and care coordination.
The PACCT team, in collaboration with the primary care physician, will prepare a customized plan of care for the patient and family that reflect the needs found in the initial assessment, and include the patient and family’s values, preferences, and goals of care.
The PACCT team is available Monday through Friday 8am-4:30pm. For additional information on the program, please call the PACCT Program Coordinator at 732-253-3730.
The David E. Zullo Pediatric Palliative Care Program (PACCT) has been recognized locally, nationally, and internationally as a program of excellence. Awards include: Sister Frances Dominica Award for Innovative Program Development to the Team from Children’s Hospice International at the 18th World Conference, Singapore in 2007, Magnet Prize Honor for Innovation from the American Nurses Credentialing Center at the 2011 National Magnet Conference in Baltimore, Maryland, and the New Jersey Hospital Association (NJHA/HRET) Community Outreach Award for Improving End of Life Care in 2012.
Support for the PACCT Program
Funding for the PACCT program is partially provided by the Embrace Kids Foundation, a non-profit organization supporting children and their families, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation , and the Bristol-Myers Squibb Children’s Hospital at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital.