Implementation of a Pediatric PC Champions Program

Topic: Pediatrics

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Introduction: Caring for a child with a life-limiting illness can be one of the most difficult parts in the role of a healthcare professional (HCP).  Palliative care has been shown to relieve suffering across multiple realms, including physical, psychological, practical and existential; improve quality of life; facilitate informed decision making and assist with coordination of care (American Academy of Pediatrics, 2013).  Provision of quality palliative care includes acquisition of knowledge, skills, and attitudes in a variety of critical concepts including communication; pain and symptom management; care at the time of death; loss, grief, and bereavement; and ethical and legal issues (ELNEC-PPC, 2013).  However, HCPs often admit a lack of comfort and confidence in providing these critical concepts when a patient is diagnosed with a life-limiting illness or at the end-of-life.

This poster will present an overview of an innovative pediatric Palliative Care Champions Program.  In addition, the poster will provide an outline of the program eligibility, initial and ongoing education, and maintenance requirements.  Furthermore, we will identify potential benefits of the program for patients/families, staff, the champions, and the Palliative Care Team.  Finally, an overview of outcome measurement and pre-program data will be revealed.

Program Purpose: Initiation of a Palliative Care Champions Program will improve the quality of care provided to patients & families diagnosed with life-limiting illnesses, receiving palliative care, or at end-of-life.

Program Objectives: •Promote comprehensive quality palliative care for patients across the healthcare system •Enhance the collaboration that occurs between unit staff & the Palliative Care Team •Select staff members with an interest in palliative care to serve as unit champions •Develop an educational program to train & provide ongoing support and education to the unit champions.

Role of the Champion: 1.To function as a resource for unit staff related to palliative care, end-of-life care, and quality of life 2.To serve as a liaison for staff & family needs 3.To improve the quality of care provided to patients & families diagnosed with life-limiting illness or at end-of-life

This hospital has successfully trained 34 Palliative Care Champions.  These champions function as a resource for staff related to palliative care and quality of life.  The champions also mentor and educate staff on palliative care topics, while advocating for patients who are diagnosed with life-limiting illnesses or at end-of-life.  In addition, the champions meet quarterly for an educational topic and to share ideas, successes, and frustrations.  These Palliative Care Champions are passionate and engaged, and are striving to improve the quality of care that patients and families receive. 

Author

  • Michelle Cook, MS
  • Advanced Education Specialist
  • Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital
  • 501 6th Avenue South
  • St. Petersburg, FL 33701
  • 727-767-8275

Co-authors

  • Karen Hansen, BS, CCLS, GC-C
  • Kristina Burger, DNP, ARNP, CPNP, CCRN, RN-BC, LNC
  • Laura Drach, DO, MSN, FAAP
  • Marclaire McEachern, RN, CPN, CHPPN
  • Michelle Cook, MS, RN, RN-BC, CHPPN
  • Susan Shields, MSN, ARNP, CPNP

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