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We are entering a new era of integration between neonatal medicine and paediatric palliative care, with increasing recognition that the role and skills of palliative care extend beyond care of only the terminally ill infant. This paper addresses the principles of paediatric palliative care and how they apply in the NICU, considers who provides palliative care in this setting and outlines the key components of care. We consider how the international standards of palliative care pertain to neonatal medicine and how a fully integrated approach to care may be realised across these two disciplines. Palliative care is so much more than end-of-life care, offering a proactive and holistic approach which addresses the physical, emotional, spiritual and social needs of the infant and family. This is a truly interdisciplinary endeavour, relying on a harmonisation of the skills from both the neonatal and palliative care teams to deliver high-quality coordinated care.

Original publication




Journal article


Semin Fetal Neonatal Med

Publication Date



Neonatal, Neonatal intensive care unit, Palliative care, Perinatal