Celebrating Hats On for Children’s Palliative Care – #HatsOn4CPC – 2018  

HATS ON FOR CHILDREN’S PALLIATIVE CARE – FRIDAY, 12 OCTOBER 2018 – a day to raise international awareness of the work of children’s hospices and children’s palliative care services worldwide.

Ahead of this year’s Hats on for Children’s Palliative Care, Professor Julia Downing, Chief Executive, ICPCN (International Children’s Palliative Care Network), reminds us why it’s vital that every child who needs it should have the right to access palliative care.

Julia Downing dons a hat  for #hatson4cpc

Yesterday, I was at Hospis Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur for a palliative care symposium. We were discussing the benefits of palliative care for children and as I reflected on this I remembered a young girl that I had cared for in Uganda several years ago. She had cancer, which was in its advanced stages when she was first diagnosed as it had taken four months to make the diagnosis. She was very weak and tired, but we had managed to control her pain and her other symptoms and she was curled up on the mattress at the hospital laughing with her younger sister and telling her a secret. As I looked at them together, I thought how ‘lucky’ they were that she was in Kampala and able to access the palliative care team. Not only were we able to make her last few days more comfortable, but also we were able to care for her family and support them after she died.

She was one of the 21.6 million children globally (1) needing palliative care, yet only an estimated 10 per cent of these children can access such care. The recent Lancet Commission report on pain and palliative care (2) highlighted that every year nearly 2.5 million children die needing palliative care and more than 98 per cent of these children are from low-income countries. Access to pain control and palliative care is a human right – children have a right to health care and to be free from pain, but we have a long way to go to ensurethat all children who require palliative care have access to it.

Will you help us to support Hats on for Children’s Palliative Care?

On Friday, 12th October 2018, we are celebrating the 5th annual Hats on for Children’s Palliative Care Day – #HatsOn4CPC. ICPCN decided to establish the day in order to raise awareness of the rights of children needing palliative care to access it. We want to see children accessing palliative care so that they can have a better quality of life, free from pain and other distressing symptoms, letting them live life to the best of their ability.

#HatsOn4CPC is a way of raising awareness and funds for children’s palliative care services and we hope that we can encourage you, alongside members of the public, to wear a hat to work, school or college – then take a selfie, add the hashtag #HatsOn4CPC andupload it to your Facebook page or Twitter feed and tag ICPCN. We hope that those who are able to will make a donation to ICPCN or their local children’s palliative care service.

Perhaps readers of the blog would like to join in and organise a #HatsOn4CPC event – or simply wear your hat to work! We have a variety of materials on our website to help you if you’re short of ideas – just click here to access them. If you organise an event, then let your local newspaper know about it and encourage them to promote the event to raise awareness for children’s palliative care.

I will be in Indonesia on Friday  12th October at Rachel House children’s palliative care programme, where we will be celebrating the event and wearing our hats to work. So watch out for our pictures on social media and join us in raising awareness of children’s palliative care this October – #HatsOn4CPC


  1. Connor SR, Downing J, Marston J. (2017) Estimating the global need for palliative care for children: A cross-sectional analysis. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management. 53 (2) : 171-177.
  1. Knaul FM, Farmer PE, Krakauer EL, De Lima, L, Bhadelia A, Kwete XJ, Arreola-Ornelas H, Gómez-Dantés O, Rodriguez NM, Alleyne GAO, Connor SR, Hunter DJ, Lohman L, Radbruch L, del Rocío Sáenz Madrigal M, Atun R, Foley KM, Frenk J, Jamison DT, Rajagopal MR, on behalf of the Lancet Commission on Palliative Care and Pain Relief Study Group (2017), Alleviating the access abyss in palliative care and pain relief – an imperative of universal health coverage: the Lancet Commission report. The Lancet. Published online October 12, 2017.


SUBMIT YOUR ABSTRACT FOR EAPC2019 – deadline for submissions 15 October 2018

For the first time ever, there’s a full day of children’s palliative care sessions at the next EAPC Congress in Berlin on 23 May 2019. If you’re working or involved in children’s palliative care, please submit your abstract (for either oral or poster presentation). Submit online here.  Find out more about the congress here,  or register here.


This entry was posted in ADVOCACY & POLICY, Children and young people, CHILDREN'S PALLIATIVE CARE and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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