The Impact of Palliative Care on Health Status in HIV-Positive Children

HIV-positive children in sub-Saharan Africa have numerous challenges to overcome. These challenges increase psychosocial stress as well as symptom burden including fatigue, weight loss, pain, and mental changes. The symptoms may persist even after initiation of antiretroviral therapy, so such children need additional care. Palliative care lays emphasis on holistic patient-centered care, including physical, psychological, social, and spiritual symptoms, alongside antiretroviral therapy. There is limited data on the impact of integrating palliative care with standard HIV care and treatment in children. The purpose of this study was to fill the gap in the literature by investigating the impact of palliative care on health status in HIV-positive children on antiretroviral therapy. The theoretical framework was based on the humanistic nursing theory. According to study results, children receiving palliative care alongside antiretroviral therapy have better physical and psychosocial health compared to children receiving only antiretroviral therapy. Increasing age was a contributing factor to better psychosocial and physical health in patients receiving palliative care. Emotional, social, and school functioning are important factors that determine treatment outcomes in children on antiretroviral therapy, and addressing those factors through palliative care will create a positive social change by improving treatment outcomes, quality of life, and longevity.

Author(s) Details

Dr. Aabid A. Ahmed,
Bomu Hospital, Mombasa, Kenya.

Vasileios Margaritis,
School of Health Sciences, Walden University, USA.

Aaron Mendelsohn
School of Health Sciences, Walden University, USA.

Dr. Hellen Kariuki,
University of Nairobi, Nairobi, Kenya.

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