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Mercy Chidren's Hospital

Emotional Support

It’s not easy to deal with the fact that your child is seriously ill. In addition to your child’s caregivers (doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists), you may wish to talk with the following people:

Social Services

Counseling is available to you and your family members who need assistance with problems related to illness or special family circumstances. The department also assists you with your discharge arrangements for home health care, medical equipment or extended care placement, as well as referrals to other community agencies. If you want to speak with a social worker, please notify your nurse.


Catholic and Protestant chaplains are available to provide you and your family members with spiritual and emotional assistance. Their help may be requested at any time, including evening and night hours, by calling the Medical Center operator. If you are of another faith or need other assistance, please call our Pastoral Care Department at ext. 14703.

Ethics Committee

The mission of Mercy Health Partners is to extend the healing ministry of Jesus. We are committed to excellence, compassion for others, and reverence for all life. We respect the dignity of all persons.

The Mercy Children’s Hospital Ethics Committee helps patients, families, and health care professionals with ethical issues in the care of children. Anyone directly involved in the care of a patient may ask for help with ethical questions. On request, the ethics committee will help those involved to find out information and understand their choices. The committee gives advice, but does not make decisions for patients, families, and professionals. If you would like help with a moral or ethical decision in the care of your child, the Mercy Children’s Hospital Ethics Committee is available to you. Ask your child’s nurse to help you contact the committee.

Maternal-Child/Pediatric Palliative Care

Maternal-child/Pediatric Palliative Care (MaCPaC) is a team of specialists working with newborns and children who are diagnosed with very serious, life threatening illnesses, and their families. The interdisciplinary team of a pediatrician, clinical nurse specialists and chaplain collaborate closely with the hospital staff to provide individualized care for physical, psychological and spiritual aspects of coping with a long term life threatening illness, or death and bereavement.

Here are some reasons why children need a different approach to palliative care than adults:

  • The causes of very serious illness are different in children. It is difficult to predict prognosis or survival in children.
  • Children and families react differently to life threatening illnesses than adults do. A developmental approach to grief and loss is needed.
  • Children often live longer with very serious life threatening illness than adults do. Children often need many agencies and resources to help take care of medical needs at home and in the community. Care coordination is essential for quality of life.

The MaCPaC team can help. Your doctor or nurse can request a consult to the palliative care team. We will work closely with you and your child's doctors, nurses and therapists to be sure that the goals you want for your child's healthcare are reached.
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