Pediatric Palliative Care Program

David E. Zullo Pediatric Advanced Comprehensive Care Team (PACCT) Program


The David E. Zullo Pediatric Advanced Comprehensive Care Team (PACCT) is a palliative care program dedicated to providing the highest quality comprehensive care from conception to young adulthood for patients living with serious illnesses. It is a family centered program that strives to improve the quality of life of patients and their families.

The program offers seamless interdisciplinary continuity of care for your child's physical, psychosocial and spiritual needs. Studies have shown that it is most beneficial for children, their families and health care providers to integrate palliative care services from the time a serious illness is diagnosed continuing throughout the trajectory of the illness.

A Program of Excellence

The PACCT program has been recognized locally, nationally, and internationally for excellence in patient care and innovative program development. Awards include:

  • New Jersey Hospital Association (NJHA/HRET) Community Outreach Award for Improving End of Life Care in 2012
  • Magnet Prize Honor for Innovation from the American Nurses Credentialing Center at the 2011 National Magnet Conference in Baltimore, Maryland
  • Sister Frances Dominica Award for Innovative Program Development to the Team from Children’s Hospice International at the 18th World Conference, Singapore in 2007

Frequently Asked Questions about Palliative Care and PACCT

What is pediatric palliative care?

Palliative care is specialized medical care for individuals living with serious illnesses. Palliative care is appropriate at any age and focuses on relieving symptoms that cause pain, suffering, and stress. The goal is to improve the quality of life for both the patient and their family.

Palliative care provides comprehensive management of the patient and family's physical, psychosocial and spiritual needs, and is available from the time of diagnosis or at any time during an illness.

Palliative care is provided along with curative as well as life-enhancing treatments and care. It is important to note that palliative care is based on need and not prognosis.

What can PACCT provide?

The PACCT program provides comprehensive management of the patient and family's physical, psychosocial and spiritual needs. This care includes:

  • Managing symptoms that cause pain and discomfort
  • Facilitating improved communication between the patient, family members, and the health care team
  • Assisting the primary physician in the discussion of treatment options and developing a plan of care
  • Assisting patients and their families in decisions that best reflect their values and preferences
  • Coordinating care for patients with complex care needs
  • Communicating with community agencies to facilitate coordination of care
  • Developing treatment plans that focus on improving patients' and families' quality of life

Palliative care is intended to achieve the best quality of life for the patient and their family during all aspects of an illness regardless of the patient's prognosis. If needed, the PACCT can provide comprehensive end-of-life care that is directed to the individual needs and goals of the patient and their family. Additional services of the PACCT team include:

  • Advanced care planning
  • psychosocial and spiritual support at end of life
  • grief and bereavement counseling

How does PACCT work?

PACCT consists of an interdisciplinary team of health care providers which includes physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses, counselors, social workers, and wellness practitioners. The patient's primary care physician makes a referral to the team and a comprehensive palliative care assessment is then completed. The team works in collaboration with the patient's primary physician and all other health care providers and specialists to provide seamless communication and care coordination.

The PACCT team is available Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. For additional information on the program, please call the PACCT at 732-253-3730.

    Support for the PACCT Program

    Funding for the PACCT program is partially provided by the Embrace Kids Foundation, a non-profit organization supporting children and their families, The Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Foundation, and the Bristol-Myers Squibb Children’s Hospital at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital.

    embrace-kids-1Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Foundation

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