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Bringing Pediatric Palliative Care to the Home Front
Conference Hopes to Inspire Communities to Support Very Ill Children and Families

Pittsburgh, PA (April 19, 2018) –
It literally takes a village to care for a child with serious, chronic or life limiting illness, and that village ought to be the child’s own hometown or neighborhood. That is the premise of a one-day regional conference that aims to enlighten and inspire communities about the needs of very ill children and their families. “Pediatric Palliative Care: A Toolkit for Community Providers,” will take place Wednesday, April 25, 2018, from 10 am to 3 pm at UPMC Hamot Women’s Hospital, in Erie Pa.

The conference is a presentation of the Pediatric Palliative Care Coalition (PPCC), a statewide non-profit organization that provides education and resources to improve hospice and palliative care for children, in conjunction with Great Lakes Hospice, Hospice of Warren County and Hamot Health Foundation. It is open to all those who care about the health and well-being of children, and especially to hospice and home care providers.  

Children with life limiting illnesses often receive acute care services in urban medical centers, but they also need to be cared for at home, with their families. Local providers have an important role to play in their care: they make it possible for families to bring their children home. “Rural providers of end-of-life care may not have many pediatric patients, and may therefore feel unqualified to care for them. However, PPCC is prepared to help them gain a new level of confidence by providing tools, resources, and education,” says Betsy Hawley, PPCC executive director. “The resources exist in every community and we need everyone to get on board: hospitals, hospices, home care agencies, school systems and other community members. No one provider can give a family everything they need, but they can each play a part. School nurses, teachers, counselors, case managers and volunteers can all contribute to this effort.”

Keynote speaker Scott Maurer, M.D., Medical Director of the Supportive Care Program at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, will offer guidelines for caring for very ill children at home and having “difficult conversations” with their families.  Lynn Weissert, R.N., CHPN, a nurse with Great Lakes Hospice, will present an interactive workshop on putting the tools into action.

“Children at end-of-life have a right to receive hospice and palliative care, and to receive it at home,” says Betsy Hawley. “When communities mobilize to help one of their own, they can make an enormous impact. Get involved; attend the conference and join us. We are here to help make this happen.”

The conference will take place in the Lincoln Education Center at 118 East Second Street.  Registration begins at 9:30 am; the fee of $15 includes lunch. CEUs are available. To register, visit www.ppcc-pa.org

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