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Cultural Approaches to Pediatric Palliative Care in Central Massachusetts: Mission and Guiding References

This subject guide is a collaborative project with the Children's Medical Center Pediatric Palliative Care Team, the Lamar Soutter Library, and Interpreter Services.

New article for cultural and religious considerations in pediatric palliative care

The following article was published from support by the Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute and the National Institute of Mental Health.  "Beginning with brief overviews of cultural competence and pediatric palliative care, this article reviews the relevant literature, describes the influence that culture and religion can have on end-of-life pediatric care and highlights the importance of integrating culture with death and dying traditions." (Weiner L. 2013) 

Click on the title link below for the full text of the article:

Wiener L, McConnell DG, Latella L, Ludi E. Cultural and religious considerations in pediatric palliative care. Palliat Support Care. 2013 Feb;11(1):47-67. doi: 10.1017/S1478951511001027. Epub 2012 May 22. Review. PubMed PMID: 22617619; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3437238.

Guiding References

This guide to cultural information for patient care below is designed as a resource for improving interpersonal relations, increasing understanding, and furthering world class service for the UMass Medical Center diverse patient population. By heightening awareness, enhancing communication and developing better cultural competence we keep patients first: 

           Diversity Toolkit from the Diversity and Equal Opportunity Office 


For information about refugees in Central Massachusetts and Massachusetts as a whole, please refer to the documents below:         

          Refugee arrivals to Massachusetts by country of origin


The following documents were developed by The Joint Commission and the HealthCare Chaplaincy to inspire hospitals to integrate concepts from the communication, cultural competence, and patient- and family-centered care fields into their organizations.  

         Advancing Effective Communication, Cultural Competence, and Patient-and Family-Centered Care: A Roadmap  

         Cultural & Spiritual Sensitivity:  A Learning Module for Health Care Professionals 

Mission of this Guide

 1.   To provide easily accessible culturally sensitive information for healthcare providers who care for children who are receiving palliative care.

 2.   To improve communication between children/families and their healthcare providers. 

What is pediatric palliative care?

WHO Definition of Palliative Care for Children

Palliative care for children represents a special, albeit closely related field to adult palliative care. WHO’s definition of palliative care appropriate for children and their families is as follows; the principles apply to other paediatric chronic disorders (WHO; 1998a):

  • Palliative care for children is the active total care of the child's body, mind and spirit, and also involves giving support to the family.
  • It begins when illness is diagnosed, and continues regardless of whether or not a child receives treatment directed at the disease.
  • Health providers must evaluate and alleviate a child's physical, psychological, and social distress.
  • Effective palliative care requires a broad multidisciplinary approach that includes the family and makes use of available community resources; it can be successfully implemented even if resources are limited.
  • It can be provided in tertiary care facilities, in community health centres and even in children's homes.

Guide Collaborators

This subject guide was a collaborative project with the Children's Medical Center Pediatric Palliative Care Team, the Lamar Soutter Library, Interpreter Services, and student interns.

Please help us improve this guide by leaving your comments and suggestions.