Monday, September 12, 2016

Pediatric Palliative Care

A series of blogs on the upcoming event THE INTENSIVES from educational content team members.

One of the challenges we’ve faced in the evolution of pediatric hospice and palliative care is the lack of an organizational “home,” despite a now decades-long history of practice in this “new” discipline. Fortunately, because of need and advocacy within the field, pediatric content at a variety of national conferences has grown steadily every year. Nevertheless, it’s difficult to find one event that satisfies multiple educational needs. That’s why I’m so jazzed about the upcoming “immersion experience” at the upcoming Pediatric Palliative Care Intensive this fall.

Our focus for this conference is on home – and community-based PPC, as this is clearly the next evolution in our maturity. (Funny – we started in homes and communities, and then concentrated on organizing ourselves in hospitals, and now the thrust is to re-engage in the community…. Ah, the cycles of life!) For our sessions, we chose topics that are the source of inquiries and questions each of us receives every day from others who are struggling with similar issues, from management of refractory symptoms with medications “only used in hospitals” to staffing ratios for a home-based PPC program.

The other day, we held a faculty planning call to ensure that we’re all focusing on “next practices” – a step beyond “best practices” – and outcomes through interactive content that goes beyond PPC 101. So impressive were the energy, enthusiasm, wisdom and drive to share and help others grow from our Intensive faculty members, that I got off the phone wishing the conference would start right away!

What will we be discussing? Every time I hear Julie Hauer speak or read what she’s written, I learn something and think about things in a new way. I’m really excited to learn more from her about serving children with severe neurologic impairment and their families in the home setting, since my team cares for more and more of these patients each year. We have also struggled with concurrent care here in Ohio – and with the hundreds of patients who really don’t meet the criteria to qualify, since they’re not hospice eligible. What are some strategies we can use to bridge the care gaps for them? How can we leverage the growing power of coalitions – local, state, regional and even national – to help us plan, deliver, fund and evaluate the care we’re providing? These and other issues will provide the fodder for group engagement and conversation as we focus on the future of our field, and care delivery in the home and community.

I’m also impressed with the structure of the Intensives – NHPCO has been thoughtful about allowing us to arrange the time to allow for networking and consultation with expert practitioners in various subjects, as well as for social gathering. And because there are parallel tracks (4 Intensives in each of the 2 groups), the conference allows for interaction with other attendees who may not be in the peds intensive but may share experience and perspectives. It’s easy to stay on for an additional day and a half of content organized around other pertinent topics as well. In short, the opportunity to have focused pediatric content delivered by experts in the field in such an efficient way (and in a beautiful location) is what we’ve been asking for. Come and join us in sunny Florida for a fabulous time. Hope to see you there!

Sarah Friebert, MD
Director, A Palette of Care
Haslinger Division of Pediatric Palliative Care, Akron Children's Hospital
Register Now: Advance registration ends October 7.

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