Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Fifteen-minute consultation: Not the whole story—considering children’s spirituality and advance care planning
  1. Mark Clayton,
  2. Jan Aldridge
  1. Martin House Children’s Hospice, Wetherby, West Yorkshire, UK
  1. Correspondence to Mark Clayton, Martin House Children’s Hospice, Clifford, Wetherby LS23 6TX, UK; mclayton{at}


In a society of diverse views, faiths and beliefs, what can paediatric palliative care contribute to our understanding of children’s spirituality? By failing to recognise and respond to their spirituality in this work, we risk missing something of profound importance to children and their families. We overlook their search for wholeness in the absence of cure and fall short of offering truly holistic care. This paper explores how developments in advance care planning and related documentation are addressing these issues. Since children’s spirituality is elusive and rarely explored in practice, it aims to clarify our understanding of it with a variety of examples and contains suggestions for hearing the voice of the child amid the needs of parents and professionals.

  • palliative care
  • paediatric practice

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • Contributors The article arose from lengthy joint discussions. The introduction and conclusion were drafted by JA and the material on childhood spirituality was contributed by MC, but each of these was informed by our shared thinking.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.