Helping kids live as well as possible

The palliative care team at Children’s Minnesota provides holistic care for pediatric patients with life-limiting diseases and adds an extra layer of support to the care of children with serious illness and their families. We work to make sure children and teens with serious disease have the best treatment for pain and distressing symptoms, as well as support for coping with the stress of the illness. In addition, the team helps families when they are faced with making difficult choices on their journey with their children. The goal of palliative care is to improve quality of life for both the patient and the family so everyone can live as well as possible while facing serious illness.

We add to the medical care your child is already receiving, by concentrating on  , treating distress using a combination of pain and symptom control, integrative (non-pharmacological”) medicine, psychological support and spiritual care. Together our multidisciplinary team, delivers complex care to help kids feel better and live more fully.

We see patients in both of our hospitals in Minneapolis and St. Paul, in our Kiran Stordalen and Horst Rechelbacher Pediatric Pain, Palliative and Integrative Medicine Clinic, and through our home palliative care or hospice programs.

Palliative care: Standing by your side at times of uncertainty

Children benefit from receiving palliative care when they have a serious disease and there’s a possibility they may not reach adulthood. Providing palliative care is appropriate at any age and at any stage, together with curative treatment.

If your child is referred to our palliative care program, it does not mean he or she is nearing the end of life. In fact, most patients receive palliative care and disease-directed treatment at the same time. Our staff is specifically trained to manage distressing symptoms (such as pain, breathlessness, nausea, vomiting, feeding intolerance etc.) and support families making difficult medical decisions for their child. Palliative care can give your family the opportunity to make the most out of every day you have together.

Pediatric Palliative Care:

  • Specialized medical care for children with serious illness
  • To live as long as possible, as well as possible
  • Is about matching treatment to patient goals
  • Focused on relieving pain, distressing symptoms & stress of a serious illness
  • Appropriate at any age and at any stage, together with curative treatment
  • Goal is to improve quality of life for child/family

Hospice care: Finding meaning and creating memories

For children or teens whose physicians are concerned they may not live beyond the next year, Children’s Minnesota also offers hospice care. We are a pediatric-specific hospice program and our team cares for our patients in the hospital, in the clinic and in their homes.  As our team supports your child and your family during this time, our goal is to promote healing and attend to suffering.

After a child’s death, hospice staff provide bereavement follow up to the families who have been served in either the home-based hospice or palliative care program.   Families are offered on-going psychosocial support, typically from social work, child life and spiritual care.  A bereavement follow up plan would be tailored to each family’s identified needs.  There is an automatic referral to Children’s Minnesota Bereavement Services. 

Perinatal Palliative Care and Hospice

When the medical tests before baby’s delivery reveals worrisome news

The Perinatal Palliative Care & Hospice Program serves families who receive a life-limiting diagnosis for their baby during pregnancy.  Families have the opportunity to meet with a physician and social worker in the Palliative Care Clinic.  Staff will help families explore treatment options for their baby and establish goals of care.  Families are supported to make a plan of care for their baby based upon their goals.  Management of pain and distressing symptoms is included in the plan of care.  Any treatment decisions that a family makes would be communicated to the referring medical team.  A Child Life Specialist and a Chaplain are also available based upon a family’s need.


At Children’s Minnesota, we know how important reliable information about conditions and illnesses is.

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Children’s Minnesota goes above and beyond to help prevent and treat pain with Children’s Comfort Promise.