Treatment Programs


Pediatric Palliative Care Service

Pediatric Palliative Care is an interdisciplinary service that provides an additional layer of healing and support for children and families when a child faces a serious disease. We focus on maximizing a child's quality of life, providing relief from pain, symptoms, and stress, smoothing transitions of care, coordinating communication, and improving a family's experience of care. Our aim is to help families navigate difficult choices and find a way forward together.

  • 617-643-0603

Meet the Team

The Pediatric Palliative Care team is Caitlin Merrill, NP; Sandra J. Clancy, PhD Program Manager and Patient Advocate; Patricia J. O'Malley, MD, Medical Director.

The Pediatric Palliative Care Service at MassGeneral Hospital for Children offers treatment intended to optimize quality of life, promote healing and comfort for children with life-threatening illness, and provide support for families whose child faces a serious, chronic or potentially terminal disease. By honoring the ways in which a child finds comfort, joy, autonomy, independent communication and safety, we use our medical knowledge to put our skills and technology to the service of the child and the family. One of our primary goals is to relieve patients’ symptoms and keep them as comfortable and pain-free as possible, whether or not a curative treatment is being pursued.

The support we provide includes:

  • Optimizing pain and symptom management
  • Offering psychological and spiritual support
  • Facilitating family and health care provider communication
  • Supporting siblings and parents
  • Coordinating inpatient, outpatient and home care, including home palliative and hospice care
  • Providing bereavement follow up to families whose child has died

The Pediatric Palliative Care team conducts weekly rounds during which cases and issues relevant to the care of children with chronic and terminal illnesses are discussed, such as pain management, caregiver grief and discharge planning for palliative care patients. These rounds are attended by the palliative care Interdisciplinary Team (IDT) made up of staff from nursing, child life, social work, chaplaincy, palliative and psychiatric medicine, and family advocacy. All providers involved in the care of children facing terminal illness are invited to attend IDT rounds, whether or not the child is formally followed by Pediatric Palliative Care.

The Pediatric Palliative Care team works closely with each child’s primary team including, among others, his/her:

  • Primary care physician
  • Social worker
  • Sub-specialists
  • Child life expert
  • Chaplain
  • Primary nurses
  • Physical and occupational therapists
  • Case managers

Some happy amongst the sad, Dr. Runs for Fallen Angel

Karen Livernois writes about the care her daughter Yvie received at MassGeneral Hospital for Children and Dr. Avi Traum's request to run the Boston Marathon in memory of Yvie.

Lacing up for kids’ care

For marathoners Jeanne MacDonald, MD, of the MGH Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Catherine Chapin, MD, a pediatric resident, and Kevin Timulty, a Braintree police officer, giving back is part of their everyday jobs.

Little Words: A Mother Shares Her Son's Story Through Uplifting Memories

Ben Siedman loved decorating the Christmas tree with his family every year. One year since his death in 2014, Ben's mother shares the importance of the little words that made a big difference when Ben and his family spent time together during the holidays.

Communication Workshop Enhances the Human Connection for Interns and Patients

At MassGeneral Hospital for Children, interns and second-year residents have an opportunity to practice the art and science of good communcation in the longitudinal curriculum’s Communications Workshop.

Marathoners run for Pediatric Palliative Care

On Patriot's Day, ‪MassGeneral Hospital for Children (MGHfC) physicians Jeanne MacDonald Avram Traum will run the Boston Marathon in support of MGHfC’s Pediatric Palliative Care Service as part of the Miles for Mass General program.

Running for Palliative Care: Providing Hope for NICU Babies and Their Families

For veteran marathon runner Jeanne MacDonald, MD, running for the Palliative Care marathon team means providing hope to families whose babies are in the NICU, like the Spittle family.

Running for Pediatric Palliative Care: Providing a New Sense of Healing

For pediatric nephrologist and marathon runner, Avi Traum, MD, running for the Pediatric Palliative Care marathon team means being able to give patients with cancer, like Zoe Meinen, a better quality of life.

MGHfC Palliative Care Service

Yawkey Center for Outpatient Care
Suite 6D
32 Fruit Street
Boston, MA 02114

Phone: 617-643-0603
Fax: 617-724-3948

Public Transportation Access: yes
Disabled Access: yes

To schedule an appointment with a MassGeneral for Children pediatric specialist, please call 888-644-3248 or complete our online appointment form to request an appointment.

Physicians may call 888-644-3211 or use the online referral form and the Access & New Appointment Center will call your patient within 1 business day.

Next Steps:

  • 617-643-0603

Support the Pediatric Palliative Care Service

Gifts from individuals help to support the hospital’s three-part mission of innovative research and education in addition to patient care that is second to none.


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