Pediatric Behavioral Health in the Division of Palliative Medicine and Supportive Care

Palliative Medicine and Supportive Care offers supportive care to children with life-threatening illness and their families. Palliative medicine and supportive care services include pain and symptom management, assistance with decision-making, end-of-life care, and bereavement support. By improving quality of life through relief of suffering and the promotion of hope and dignity, families are empowered to make decisions regarding the optimal care for their child. Palliative medicine and supportive care can be provided along with other medical treatment so that quality of life and comfort are optimized during all stages of the illness.

Behavioral health experts are integrated into the Supportive Care Program at UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh provides collaborative care with your child's medical teams by offering evidence-based psychosocial care to optimize quality-of-life and coping for children and their families throughout the illness trajectory.

Our supportive care team assists children and families with:

  • Mood, anxiety, and behavioral concerns related to complex or life-limiting illness.
  • Difficulty with adjustment to hospitalization and medical care.
  • Psychiatric symptoms that may cause distress or impact care.
  • Pediatric Medical Traumatic Stress.
  • Pain/symptom management needs.
  • Goals of care discussions.
  • Living with uncertainty about prognosis.
  • Living with changes in functioning.
  • Interpersonal and communication challenges.
  • Anticipatory grief.
  • Advance care planning.
  • End-of-life and hospice.

Supportive Care Behavioral Health Services

  • Consultation and screening for children and families affected by serious illness.
  • Promoting medical coping through use of evidence-based coping strategies.
  • Supporting adjustment to living with serious illness.
  • Parent and caregiver guidance in caring for a child with serious illness.
  • Support with identifying and honoring each family’s unique goals of care.
  • Using non-pharmacological pain and symptom management strategies to improve quality-of-life.
  • Communication support between family members and medical teams.
  • Care coordination.
  • Anticipatory guidance.
  • Support through end-of-life.
  • Bereavement support.