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Physical Needs of the Dying Child

Meeting the physical needs of the dying child are aimed at providing as much comfort as possible. The change from curing to caring means providing comfort to the child with the least invasive procedures, while maintaining his/her privacy and dignity. A terminally ill child has many of the same needs as any seriously ill child, including the following:

Treatment for pain:

Specific treatment for pain will be determined by your child's physician based on the following:

Methods for reducing pain are classified as either pharmacological or non-pharmacological.

What is pharmacological pain management?

Pharmacological pain management refers to the use of pharmaceutical drugs or medications to relieve pain. There are many types of drugs and several methods used in administering them. Pain medication is usually given in one of the following ways:

Examples of pharmacological pain relief include the following:

Some children build up a tolerance to sedatives and pain relievers. Over time, doses may need to be increased or the choice of medications may need to be changed.

What is non-pharmacological pain management?

Non-pharmacological pain management is the management of pain without medication. This method utilizes ways to alter thinking and focus to decrease pain. Methods include the following:

Other non-pharmacological pain management may utilize alternative therapies such as acupuncture, massage, or biofeedback, to eliminate discomfort.

Each child experiences pain differently. It is important to discover the best method for pain control for your child prior to the onset of pain, and to give the child permission to use many varied resources in the treatment of his/her pain.

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