What is it about?

Anticipatory prescribing is an important element of advance care planning in palliative care. Using the recent NICE guidelines as a framework, this paper explores the challenges of anticipating the symptoms children with life limiting conditions may experience, and suggests how prescribers can manage them, using medicines as well as other techniques, such as distraction, and talking a family-centred approach.

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Why is it important?

We know that the symptoms experienced by children at end of life are distressing to the child and their family. Commonly experienced symptoms include pain, agitation, breathlessness and secretions. Being able to manage symptoms quickly and effectively means that the quality of life of children and families is improved.


Advance care planning for children and young people has evolved over the last few years, producing plans hat are holistic, family centred and consider life events other than death - the CYPACP is about helping children to live. Symptom management is an integral part of this - keeping children free from distressing symptoms improves quality of life. As the numbers of non-medical prescribers are increasing children's palliative care, it is important that nurses are equipped with the knowledge and skills to anticipate and prescribe safe and effective medicines for children.

Dr Michael J Tatterton
University of Bradford

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Anticipatory prescribing and advance care planning in palliative care for children and young people, Nurse Prescribing, May 2018, Mark Allen Group, DOI: 10.12968/npre.2018.16.5.228.
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