Aims: To explore the lived experience of caring and care planning for a child with a life-limiting condition (LLC). Method: Using van Manen's conceptualisation of hermeneutic phenomenology, three focus groups were conducted with 21 paediatric palliative care professionals, and interviews were conducted with 20 parents of children with LLCs. Findings: Parents' expectations for support were raised by the diagnosis, but the reality could disappoint, which put pressures on professionals. Current service designs with respect to key working did not always coincide with family preferences. Both parents and professionals found that the care journey required them to shift personas to respond to different contexts. Conclusions: The findings are limited by the sample characteristics, but they provide insight for current policy and practice initiatives. The key worker needs to be mindful of historical care arrangements and be prepared to step into the family 'team' arrangements.