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Three Perspectives of Silver: Part I
13 March 2013

Dr Jan Aldridge is consultant clinical psychologist in paediatric palliative care at UK’s Martin House Children’s Hospice. She’s also an honorary senior lecturer at the School of Medicine at the University of Leeds, and a research member of the International Children’s Palliative Care Network.


We’re honoured to have Dr Aldridge with us to speak at our public symposium, Living Well, Leaving Well – Understanding Palliative Care, held in partnership by HCA Hospice Care and Tan Tock Seng Hospital on 22nd Mar 2014.

Sign up to attend the symposium here!

Q: You’ve concentrated on clinical psychology with children for almost your entire career. Why did you decide to move into this particular brand of psychology - to work with children?

I thoroughly enjoyed all aspects of my undergraduate degree in psychology. My dissertation was actually on the behaviour of bees, and I found them fascinating. However, I had always known that I wanted to study clinical psychology, and to work with children. It is not always easy for children in our societies to realise their amazing potential. I wanted to be part of helping children to achieve that….whatever form it might take.

Q: What are some of the misconceptions about paediatric palliative care you have encountered?

A common misconception is about how overwhelmingly sad the work must be. It is of course very sad and painful at times, but it is also a real privilege to be alongside people at this important time, to share their journey and to learn from them. I am full of admiration for how children manage all the many challenges that are thrown at them, and to see the amount of life they pack into their days!

Q: What do you feel is the main difference between adult and paediatric palliative care?

The focus of adult palliative care is often about providing the best possible care at the end of life. Paediatric palliative care is very much about helping children and their families grow and develop and live as fully and actively as possible throughout their life, although it might be a shortened life.


This is a challenge at times, as some parents understandably want to wrap their children in cotton wool and protect them from any further trials and tribulations, whereas the children themselves value making the most of their experience of life.

Q: You’ll be sharing more with us on the family in palliative care. What sort of difference is there in the role the family plays in adult and paediatric palliative care?

Families are significant to most of us and at difficult times even more so. However in paediatric palliative care the family is absolutely central. Many children worry more about their parents than about themselves, and are only able to relax a bit when they see we are looking after their family too. This means that the health professionals may need to think about the whole family system and their significant friends too.


Living Well, Leaving Well will be held on 22 March at Tan Tock Seng. The symposium is open to public, and will touch on the key decisions one will face when moving to palliative care, and also how the family will come in during palliative care.

Registration is free! Sign up here: http://www.hca.org.sg/events/symposium.