Here’s How We Can Help When Your Child has a Chronic or Terminal Illness


Putting The Child First and Always® means not only giving kids the best medical care available, but also helping them with the complexities of their multi-dimensional lives. That’s why we invest so much into our support programs like child life therapy, music therapy, art therapy, animal therapy and spiritual care. It’s why we’re so grateful for the support of the Ronald McDonald House Charities and our two Ronald McDonald Family Rooms. It’s also why we’re so fortunate to have Rainbow Kids Palliative Care at Primary Children’s Hospital.

Rainbow Kids has served more than 1,500 families at the hospital since its creation more than 10 years ago. They help both the child and the family deal with feelings, symptoms, and concerns during a time that may be confusing and overwhelming. They try to help families from an all-encompassing bio-psycho-social-cultural-spiritual view and offer different perspectives and options that may not have been considered before.

One of Rainbow Care’s specialties is Advance Care Planning. They help families walk a very difficult path.

Recently, as they worked with a family whose daughter was nearing the end of her life, the father made an insightful and touching remark. He said, “She is my daughter. I accepted responsibility for her life when I brought her into this life, it is my responsibility, as her father, to see her out of this life.”

He made decisions in a loving, kind, and mature manner. His grief was palpable but so was his love. Making an end-of-life decision is a situation many parents struggle with. Considering questions like — How? When? What does the death look like? — can be extremely challenging.

Sometimes people view Rainbow Kids as strictly and end-of-life service, a hospice of sorts. While hospice is an important part, Rainbow Kids is more like a tree with many branches to it. They are available to support and care for the family, no matter where the journey takes them.

Parents whose children suffer with a chronic or life-threatening illness, walk one of life’s most difficult paths. Fortunately, they don’t have to do it alone. Rainbow Kids can be a guide to walk alongside the families and provide comfort, advice, and support along the way.

Rainbow Kids is a physician consult service. That means if you’d like them to be involved in the your child’s care you can just ask your physician for an order.