An estimated 40,000 children and young people are terminally ill in England. The quality of care they receive varies across the country.
Draft guidance from NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) outlines what the best palliative care for children looks like.
It emphasises the need for infants, children and young people to be treated as individuals and highlights the importance of children and their families being involved in decisions about care.
Play and art as communication
It is key that children are given information in formats they can understand so NICE recommends using music, art and play.
Play is ultimately fun and enjoyable for children. It offers opportunities for social, emotional and physical development.
Those who study and practice play therapy emphasise that it has a particular importance for children and young people with a life-limiting illness. They suggest that it offers a chance for the child to have normality and opportunities to express themselves in a creative and independent way.
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