Suffer the Children: An Examination of Psychosocial Issues in Children and Adolescents with Terminal Illness

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Although deaths in childhood and adolescence have decreased greatly across the past century, they remain a reality and a challenge. This article points out specific problems in caring for dying children, including the amount of concern that must be given to age and developmental levels as well as to family and school issues. A brief review of the literature regarding causes of death, children's understanding of death, how children cope with terminal illness, choices and decisions that families must make, and pediatric palliative care services is included. Cultural and legal issues are also addressed.