Pediatric Starter Kit: Having the Conversation with Your Seriously Ill Child



Detailed Description

In some ways, "having the conversation" with a seriously ill child is very different from having the conversation with an adult family member or loved one. It can be hard (or in some cases, not possible) for a child to articulate is or her wishes and preferences. Yet even though the circumstances are different, the goal is the same: to understand your child's wishes to the fullest extent possible, and make sure that those wishes are respected.

Failing Forward Moments

Too many people die in a manner they would not choose, and too many of their loved ones are left feeling bereaved, guilty, and uncertain.

It's time to transform our culture so we shift from not talking about dying to talking about it. It's time to share the way we want to live at the end of our lives. And it's time to communicate about the kind of care we want and don't want for ourselves.

We believe that the place for this to begin is at the kitchen table not in the intensive care unit with the people we love, before it's too late.

Together we can make these difficult conversations easier. We can make sure that our own wishes, and those of our loved ones, are both expressed and respected. The Conversation Project offers tools, guidance, and resources to begin talking with loved ones about your and their wishes.

Type of Tool

Tool or toolkit


pediatric, terminal illness, end-of-life, conversation, child


Key Contacts

The Conversation Project


  • Education

  • Child health and wellbeing

  • Health System Transformation Oasis

  • People (community residents, community members with lived experience)

  • Effective

  • Individual/family

  • Childcare

  • Faith community

Geographic Context
  • Urban/large city

  • Rural

Geographic Unit
  • City/Town

  • County

  • Portfolio 1 (Improving mental/physical health with patients or workforce)

    This portfolio supports health care organizations focused on improving the physical and/or mental health of individuals for whom they feel directly responsible (e.g., patients and/or employees).

Action Areas
  • Care management

    Resources to help a set of activities that help improve patient care and reduce  medical services by “enhancing coordination of care, eliminate duplication, and helping patients and caregivers more effectively manage health conditions” as stated by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.  

Words to Describe