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The ACT children's palliative care handbook for GPs
  1. Katrina McNamara
  1. ACT, Bristol UK


ACT recognises that as long term family practitioners, GPs are ideally placed to facilitate good communication in and between multi-disciplinary and multi-agency teams. The GP has a major role to play in children's palliative care, in understanding its complexities, and the network of service providers involved. The GP remains the constant practitioner for the family, irrespective of the outcome of the child's condition.

The project aimed to promote reflective practice and learning, encouraging GP's to build their knowledge and develop case studies.

The handbook provides a practical guide for GPs across the UK who face the challenge of working with a child requiring palliative or end of life care, and their family. It addresses the following issues:

  • How do I communicate with children and their families?

  • How do I break significant news to children and their families?

  • How do I handle strong emotions and difficult questions?

  • How do I deal with ethical dilemmas in children's palliative care?

  • How do I assess and manage all the needs of children and their families?

  • How do I assess pain in children?

  • How do I manage physical pain in children?

  • How can I offer spiritual care to children and families?

  • How do I provide good end of life care to children and their families?

  • How do I manage acute, distressing terminal symptoms at the end of life?

  • How do I deal with the practicalities arising after the death of a child?

  • How do I help the family with grief and bereavement?

  • How do I survive and thrive in children's palliative care?

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