Palliative Care

Pediatric Palliative Care is a service for children with a serious illness. It is also for children who struggle with pain or other symptoms. Our team understands the whole family is affected when a child is ill or in pain.

We are here to:

  • Offer care and support at any stage of illness
  • Help manage, prevent, and ease pain and suffering
  • Focus on quality of life
  • Help the child, family, and health care teams communicate
  • Help families use information as they make health care choices for their child

We want to learn what matters to your family and help you form goals of care for your child.

Pediatric Pain and Symptom Management

Pain may impact many parts of a child’s life. Whether the pain is caused by an illness, past surgery or trauma, or has an unknown cause, it may impact:

  • Relationships and family life
  • Mood
  • Sleep
  • Daily activities

We partner with the child and their family to support healthy living through:

  • Exercise
  • Sleep
  • Being involved in school
  • Social activities

Our treatment plans focus on more than medicines. We support and value:

  • Physical therapy
  • Psychology support
  • Alternative and integrative medicine

Pain cannot always be totally removed, but often can be reduced to an acceptable level. Our team is here to keep children as pain-free as we can.

Perinatal Palliative Care

Perinatal Palliative Care is a service to offer support to a family who has learned their unborn baby has a medical condition. We offer support at the time of a prenatal diagnosis or any time during the rest of pregnancy.

Our purpose and goals are to:

  • Prevent or ease suffering for the baby and family before, during, and after birth
  • Give a sense of well-being and peace of mind
  • Learn what parents feel is most important for their baby
  • Help with making a care plan that supports parents’ wishes

We can also give support after birth through our Pediatric Pain and Palliative Care Program as needed.

Pediatric Pain and Palliative Care Specialists

Our team looks at all aspects that make your child and family unique. Each team member is an expert to focus on your child’s well-being.

Doctor/nurse practitioner

  • Reviews and manages your child’s symptoms
  • Works with the family to define goals of care and to help with decision-making


  • Supports those who may be faced with grief and loss
  • Coordinates care between health care teams that take care of your child

Social worker

  • Helps find resources for your family in the hospital and in the community settings
  • Gives emotional support for you and your child

Child life specialist

  • Offers an outlet for self-expression through play and memory-making efforts with children and siblings
  • Gives emotional support for family members

Spiritual services (chaplain)

  • Offers spiritual support
  • Helps create an environment for prayer and spirituality

Music therapist

  • Helps children with pain and anxiety
  • Allows children to express feelings and be a part of family interaction

Art therapist

  • Helps lessen stress and anxiety for patients and their family through normalizing, creative activities
  • Offers an outlet for emotional expression

Patient Stories

  • Quinn Stumpf

    Quinn Stumpf, portrait Quinn was born with a genetic disease so rare that it doesn’t have a name. A gene mutation, known as SPATA5, has resulted in various medical conditions, including epilepsy, blindness, hearing loss, dystonia, and opisthotonos, a condition which causes severe and rigid muscle spasms that result in backward arching of her head, neck, and spine. When strong medications, up to 15 at a time, began negatively impacting her organs, pediatric neurosurgeons implanted a baclofen pump directly into the ventricles of her brain to more directly deliver her medication. She is now able to lie down comfortably and stand, and she is learning to take steps where before she would have been arching in pain.Read more

Locations and Contact

  • UI Stead Family Children's Hospital
    Room 22130
    200 Hawkins Drive
    Iowa City, Iowa 52242
    In House Directions: Public Elevators, Level 2
    • Monday through Friday: 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
    • Phone: 319-356-4107
    • Toll free: 888-573-5437

Care Team