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Challenging Clinical Care Needs for Palliative & End-of-Life Care Patients and their Families

Responding to Requests for Deception in Pediatric Palliative Care

Virginia McLaughlin

Andrew D. Ross, PhD


1. Exploring societal norms around parental deception of children. 2. Identifying possible harms to children of being deceived. 3. Providing practical recommendations for healthcare providers who may be faced with requests for deception of pediatric patients.

Brief Abstract

Sometimes, the parent(s) of a minor patient with a terminal diagnosis will ask healthcare providers to hide this prognosis from the patient, including by means of deception. This presentation will explore the potential harms in such cases, the underlying broader social norms that permit deception of children, the weight of the emerging capacities of the pediatric patient in considering such a request, and practical solutions for teams and clinicians.

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