karunaKaruna means compassion in Sanskrit, and that is the focus of the Karuna Palliative Care Program (see definition of Palliative Care). Program staff work with a child’s physicians to provide palliative care to children with potentially life limiting conditions and their families. The focus of care is to help each child and family live fully. This is done through collaboration, support, and individualized care plans in an effort to help children reach their potential.

An interdisciplinary team offers patients continuity of care, follow-up, and early intervention through a 24-hour on-call system, nursing visits and care coordination. The team and the family work with the school, physician’s office, the county, and other social service programs to put a comprehensive care plan in place.

A primary goal is to support the child and family in their efforts at home. The program helps families pursue goals that are important to them. For some families that means improving school attendance or reducing emergency room visits and repeat hospitalizations.

As the team gets to know the child and family, resources are put into place that can support families in complex decision-making, managing medical crises, and other unexpected events.

Benefits of Karuna


  • Assists in child’s medical management through home visits
  • Offers families 24-hour on-call access to health care providers familiar with the child’s case
  • Emphasizes comfort care, quality of life, and satisfying relationships
  • Provides home visits by nurses, chaplains, child life, social workers, and volunteers
  • Provides spiritual, emotional, and psychosocial support for the entire family, including siblings and grandparents
  • Works with and supports school professionals
  • Ensures continuity of care over time
  • Provides bereavement follow-up care if the child dies
  • Offers ethics consultations if necessary
  • Coordinates medical and alternative therapies

For more information about Karuna, call Children’s Home Care and Hospice at (651) 220-5400.