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Quality of Life and Advanced Care Program

Quality of Life & Advanced Care (QoLA Care) at McMaster Children’s Hospital serves families affected by serious pediatric health conditions which impact quality of life. Patients may be a fetus, infant, child, youth, or young adult. Our goal is to optimize quality of life for our patients and their families, now and in the future. QoLA Care follows these patients and their families through their journey which includes inpatient consultations, outpatient clinic visits, virtual visits at home, and when required, joint home/office visits with community providers.

Care We Provide

Our approach is tailored to the needs of the patient but may include:

  • Promotion and facilitation of factors which add to quality of life
  • Anticipation, early recognition, and treatment of factors which detract from quality of life, including physical, psychological, emotional, and spiritual suffering
  • Specific treatment of advanced pain and symptoms
  • Aid for families in identifying family-centered, values-based goals of care, including the creation of advance care plans or birth plans to communicate these goals across the health care system.
  • Support in the coordination and delivery of advanced care interventions in the home when indicated and consistent with goals of care
  • Support for families in decision-making, planning, and comfort care at end-of-life, including emotional support, facilitating family wishes for location of death (home, hospital, hospice), legacy creation, Child Life sibling support, and after-death arrangements.
  • Bereavement support and follow up for families following the loss of a child for the purposes

What To Expect

First consults are often lengthy (90 minutes) as we wish to understand your child and family’s lived experience and develop a plan moving forward. It is helpful to have an up-to-date medication list as well as a list of community, hospital, and home care providers, teams, and coordinators.

Eligibility & Referrals

Eligible families include:

  • A child living with a serious health condition and whose condition poses challenges or future challenges to optimal quality of life, which includes the need for advanced pain and symptom management.
  • A family who wishes to discuss the choices and decisions that they may face in the lifespan of their child with a serious health condition.

Consultations must come from a physician or nurse practitioner. Patients are seen in both inpatient and outpatient settings.