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Frances Dominica oral history transcript.

Sister Frances Dominica begins the interview by describing one particular experience early on in her pediatric nursing career that influenced her to found Helen House, the first pediatric respite and hospice house. Helen House implemented a comfortable, homey, and respite hospice model for chronically sick children. Sister Dominica also describes some of her guiding principles of having the children and the families take an active role in shaping their experiences at the Helen House, and eventually at the Douglas House. She then describes some of the early practices of pain management as well as the influence that others in palliative and hospice movements had on her development of pediatric hospice. Sister Dominica also recalled some of the generosity and support for Helen House that the surrounding community displayed. Sister Dominica then goes on to describe some of her international experiences. She concludes with her wish for the pediatric hospice field to reexamine and reinforce the role of family in the care of sick children as well as her recommendation of watching the BBC television series’ that depicted some of the stories of families and patients in the Helen House.

Dominica, Frances

Kathleen Faulkner oral history transcript.

Dr. Faulkner begins the interview by describing her early career experiences and how those shaped her journey into pediatric palliative care. She attributes a lot the success of her early career to her “nurturing environment” of like-minded clinicians. She then describes some of her experiences being a part of an early practice to make death a more natural and less isolated experience for the patient and family.

Dr. Faulkner then how she helped to evolve end of life care to become more inclusive for families, while also supporting improved communications between providers and family decision makers. Dr. Faulkner became involved with Children’s Hospice International and worked to develop programming for home-based care and natural death without aggressive curative treatments at end of life.

As Dr. Faulkner became more involved with hospice programming, she helped to develop best practices at the intersection of pediatrics and end of life care, and she also helped to integrate family support and family care into the health care plans of pediatric providers. Dr. Faulkner met some barriers such as providers not prescribing meaningful doses of pain and symptom management medicines to pediatrics as well as general lack of training of hospice staff in how to care for dying children.

Dr. Faulkner concludes the interview by describing some of the successes she has seen over her career in the care of sick children and her vision for providers to work together to follow family care plans and provide sophisticated home care services if that is what the family wants.

Faulkner, Kathleen

Betty Ferrell oral history transcript.

Dr. Ferrell begins with her personal introduction to the need for palliative care and hospice from her experience working as a nurse in adult oncology. She describes how she stood alone in her quest to delivery better quality end of life care and decided to pursue her PhD in order to supply the data needed for this emerging field. After years of research and practice Dr. Ferrell joined forces with other hospice and palliative care leaders to expand the field or research and practice to pediatric medicine. She explains how she was drawn to pediatric palliative care and the need for specialization within the field of research. She explains the advancements that have taken part in pediatric palliative care over the past ten years as the specialization has gained greater attention. Dr. Ferrell then goes on to describe some of the changes and challenges presented to pediatric palliative care, citing health policy to be one of the greatest barriers. Finally, Dr. Ferrell describes her greatest successes and her aspiration for all clinicians receive training on palliative care before entering into practice.

Ferrell, Betty

Gerri Frager oral history transcript.

Dr. Gerri Frager begins by introducing the catalyst of her transition from nine years of nursing to her original career goal of medicine after some “really unfortunate episodes of care with patients of nursing.” She then describes the experiences and meetings she had with other emerging pioneers in the fields of pediatric pain and pediatric palliative. Dr. Frager discusses her work at the intersections of pediatric pain management and pediatric palliative care and the evolution of best practices in the field. Dr. Frager explains some of the successes and challenges in pediatric palliative and pain care as well as the simultaneous pioneering journey happening in adult palliative care. She concludes with her goals for the field to address communication barriers and establish great access to pediatric palliative and pain care, despite geographical, financial, and social barriers.

Frager, Gerri

Sarah Friebert oral history transcript.

Dr. Sarah Friebert begins the interview by describing how she constructed her own academicpath during her time as a hematology/oncology fellow and navigated barriers, including her mentor discouraging her and her work in palliative care during her time as a medical trainee.

Dr. Friebert then goes on to describe her early career experiences in hospice care and the positive results she had after reaching out to others in the palliative field for inspiration as she developed her own palliative care service model. She also expresses one of the early barriers to delivering palliative care services was a profession-wide focus on curative care, which was “potentially at the cost of quality of life and family wholeness.” Additionally, she noted the early disregard of palliative care as “glorified social work.” Other barriers she described were territoriality from other physicians, as well as the misconception that hospice and palliative care are the same entity.

Dr. Friebert concludes the interview by describing her vision for the future of pediatric palliative care, including the provision of choices of services for families, and a seamless continuum of care. She also hopes that pediatric palliative care will become more fully integrated into health care systems and that palliative services will be accessible both in cost and geographic reach.

Friebert, Sarah

Stefan Friedrichsdorf oral history transcript.

Dr. Stefan Friedrichsdorf begins the interview by describing his time as medical trainee in Germany and his observations that the medical treatments physicians were giving seriously ill children were often the cause of the distressing pain symptoms children experienced. In his pursuit to find out more about managing pain in children, he found there were no existing resources -- no books, no courses, no practices around him. In a chance opportunity, one of his peers was awarded funding to conduct an assessment of pediatric palliative care in Germany, and so Dr. Friedrichsdorf became the manager of that study and began his lifelong mission to eliminate medically caused pain and suffering in children.

Dr. Friedrichsdorf then describes participating in an opportunity sponsored by the Open Society led by George Soros after the fall of East Germany, to participate in several international conferences with other people interested studying pediatric palliative care. This included other like-minded individuals from the United Kingdom, Australia, Albania, the United States, and Canada. Dr. Friedrichsdorf comments on the three different types of healthcare models in the world, how current services and realities were derived from the circumstances created by these healthcare models, and several shocking and egregious situations and practices that he experienced and found to be detrimental to the health of the patient children and their families.

From the friendships he made during the beginning sessions of international pediatric palliative care conferences, Dr. Friedrichsdorf created a successful training collaborative and developed The Educational Palliative and End of life Care (EPEC) pediatrics training modules and certification resource for practitioners. With this training tool, he expects to continue to see the current and next generations of practitioners be well trained in alleviating pain and distressing symptoms in children.

Dr. Friedrichsdorf concludes the interview by listing his plans to continue to build a future where all practitioners are trained in at least primary palliative care, increase the global access to pediatric palliative and pain care free of economic restrictions, implement a reframing of physician training to stop blindly pushing impractical intensive treatments when a palliative treatment would be more effective at reducing suffering and burden on children, and for the establishment of sustainable interdisciplinary palliative care teams in every children’s hospital.

Friedrichsdorf, Stefan

Ann Goldman oral history transcript.

Dr. Ann Goldman begins the interview by identifying some early field experiences as an oncologist researcher and observing service gaps in clinical patient care that didn’t acknowledge the psychosocial needs of families with chronically ill children. As Dr. Goldman was attempting to find guidance to develop her idea of providing more holistic care, she was met with some unease by peers and a discouraging message from Dame Cicely Saunders to not pursue this notion.

Undaunted and driven by her innate knowledge that this idea was right, Dr. Goldman then describes her experience of being demoted in hospital hierarchy to “invent a job,” where she could establish a pain and symptom management service for pediatric patients with palliative care elements. She describes that she developed her team model from influences in pediatric pain and the adult palliative care field.

Dr. Goldman was met with several challenges to her pain and symptom service. For example, there were no training resources for her multidisciplinary team. She also noted the importance of the relationships she developed that allowed her to expand beyond the oncology department.

Dr. Goldman describes one of her proudest achievements being her role in legislative and public advocacy to help bring about the recognition of pediatric palliative care as a specialty and to develop training materials for providers globally through her charity work Together for Short Lives.

Dr. Goldman concludes the interview with her vision of pediatric palliative care expanding outside of resource rich countries and helping resource poor countries achieve a greater degree of accessibility and to reduce the gap between children who need palliative care and children who don’t receive it.

Goldman, Ann

Richard Hain oral history transcript.

Dr. Richard Hain begins his interview by describing how his lifelong intentions of practicing in pediatrics developed into an intersecting interest in palliative medicine after hearing a lecture given by St. Christopher’s hospice. Dr. Hain then describes how he designed his medical school path to intersect at the disciplines of pediatric oncology, complex needs, pharmacology, and adult palliative medicine so that he would have the proper certifications to allow him the freedom to develop pediatric palliative to his vision: a multidisciplinary streamlined service with no barriers to access for those that needed the service. He says that while going through all that training would be “overkill now . . . it was well worth doing.”

Dr. Hain then describes how he began to form a community of like-minded healthcare providers in Wales that were able to develop and publish evidence of best practices for chronically ill and underserved children. This work eventually supported the discipline of pediatric palliative care becoming recognized as a subspecialty by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.

Early in his career, Dr. Hain was met with several resistant ideologies such as general disgust at the thought of administering children’s comfort care instead of solely cure-oriented care. Dr. Hain also described some discourse between clinicians that did not subscribe to recognizing pediatric palliative care “as a subspecialty within pediatrics and not a subspecialty within adult palliative care,” and some feelings from clinicians that pediatric palliative would take away from their practice rather than add another tool to health care. Dr. Hain also reflects on the role of opioids in palliative care, access and barriers to receiving pediatric palliative care, adult hospice and adult palliative care, the challenges the discipline has to overcome and the successes of in pediatric palliative. Dr. Hain then explains his future vision for pediatric palliative care; streamlined access to care where the clinicians fulfill a healthcare companion role rather than a sterile clinical relationship while also maintaining that the clinicians are the professionals with a knowledge base that continues to evolve with the discipline. Dr. Hain would also like there to be a larger community nursing infrastructure as well as simplified treatment methods of providing complex care at-home.

Hain, Richard

Ross Hays oral history transcript.

Dr. Ross Hays begins the interview by describing how he continued to pursue training after his pediatrics residency, transitioning to study birth defects, training in rehabilitation medicine, and finally training in bioethics. Dr. Hays was then recruited to become the principal investigator for a demonstration project by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation titled Promoting Excellence in End-of-Life which finally allowed him to tie all his training experiences together.

Dr. Hays then describes his observations that pain in pediatrics was recognized, but there was a lack of urgency in clinical need to treat pain -- maybe in part due to that lack of sophistication in treatment paths for pain in the early 1980s. He also recalls that psychological and social support of pediatric patients and families were not typically seen as a necessary duty to fulfill by the medical community and largely became the responsibility of the family.

The differences between primary and specialty palliative care are also defined by Dr. Hays as he describes how other hospital services met his palliative team with some suspicion and anxiety of his palliative service overstepping and usurping turf. He also explains that there will always be a need for palliative care due to the progression of medicine and more complex therapies available. When someone elects to complete these more complex therapies, they create the need for palliative care along their health care journey.

Dr. Hays describes the most looming challenge for palliative services to be funding, especially outside of wealthy institutions that can support a palliative service that generally is not reimbursed well. Dr. Hays also describes that the best thing about the palliative field now is the new generation of well-trained leaders that are stepping up to take the lead.

The interview concludes with Dr. Hays’ dream of having palliative services fully integrated and automatically consulted on every case of a leukemia or complex congenital heart disease or when a child goes on ECMO. He would like to see that palliative care professionals become viewed as integral parts of the medical team.

Hays, Ross

Pamela Hinds oral history transcript.

Dr. Pamela Hinds begins by identifying some early experiences in her nursing career that led her towards a career in pediatric palliative care. She recalls some of the challenges of funding research and reframing some of the discipline’s stigma around child-death from “physician failure” to a patient and family-informed process of the bio-psycho-social changes that were happening to the child. Dr. Hinds goes on to describe some of the successes in pediatric palliative care being the cultivation of the multi-disciplinary then interdisciplinary team approach as well as the changes in the relationship between providers and families. Dr Hinds describes the on-going challenges in pediatric palliative care being credibility, funding, and policy, but she relays her excitement to continue to help develop this specialty into a vision of patient-first advocacy and patient choice.

Hinds, Pamela

Susan Huff oral history transcript.

Ms. Susan Huff begins by identifying some of her experiences during the earliest practices of hospice in the U.S., including her work in developing a multidisciplinary team model that could provide a service to follow a patient through end of life. Ms. Huff also describes some of her work closing the provider education gaps around hospice philosophy, pain management, and communication.

Ms. Huff then describes her work bridging pediatric palliative and pain management programs. Ms. Huff also describes her role in many programs and projects that successfully demonstrated that her model of pediatric palliative and hospice care met the desires of patients and parents while working within the confines of limited funding.

Ms. Huff concludes the interview with her vision of furthering research on outcomes to empower programs to deliver the “seamless choices in care and access” that parents and patients deserve.

Huff, Susan

Elliot Krane oral history transcript.

Dr. Elliot Krane begins the interview by describing his early career and observations that pain in pediatrics was not meaningfully managed. After Dr. Krane took a position at the University of Washington, he developed his career path at the intersection of pediatrics and pain/anesthesiology. At his post in Seattle, Dr. Krane worked within a small, close knit pain department that were at the “world’s nexus of [Starbucks] coffee and pain management,” where he helped advance early pediatric pain practices.

Dr. Krane then describes in depth some of the barriers he encountered, such as the myth that children did not meaningfully experience pain, and the role of emerging technology, like the pulse oximeter and the use of portable ultrasound technology, that helped reinforce his practice as an anesthesiologist. Dr. Krane also described some barriers in other departments resisting the practices of pain management—sometimes if the pain services are used at all, they will be called too late to significantly help the patient.

In the future, Dr. Krane would like to see palliative and pain management services more integrated into the “hospital ecosystem,” where the palliative and pain teams are engaged sooner, when they can be most effective.

Krane, Elliot

Marcia Levetown oral history transcript.

As an intensivist, Dr. Levetown noted three things: 1. a large proportion of critically ill kids were actually “chronically dying.” 2. families’ information about their child’s condition was incomplete or inaccurate and, feeding unrealistic hopes and influencing decisions based on outcomes that “were really not on the table.” And 3. family units were often overwhelmed by the child’s illness, too often leaving the family unit in varying levels of social, physical, mental, and emotion ruin.

Dr. Levetown described her early experience with palliative care and hospice, her involvement with several research projects on reforming the culture of death at the academic level, the history of pediatric palliative care as a field and some of the early challenges implementing palliative care in a hospital setting. T he profound gratitude of patients’ families whom she accompanied through the end of life was an important counterbalance to the experience of being shunned by colleagues, who had dubbed her “Doctor Death.”

Dr. Levetown identifies several persistent barriers to pediatric palliative care, including funding, professional acceptance, availability/capacity of clinicians, and burdens on patient-family, such as time, effort, transportation, and funds. Dr. Levetown then explains with her vision of expanding both physical and financial accessibility of pediatric palliative services, community integration of palliative services, and revitalizing explorations into the biopsychosocial life stages of children and adolescents that have life-limiting conditions.

Levetown, Marcia

Stephen Liben oral history transcript.

Dr. Liben credits his initial venture into pediatric palliative care to his experiences of witnessing “unnecessary suffering” during his career in pediatric critical care. Dr. Liben states that he was attracted to how much “promise” that pediatric palliative care held in addressing more than just the medical needs of children and their families.

He then recalls experiences he had with international leaders in the emerging field of pediatric palliative care. Dr. Liben describes how the field has evolved to be more patient- and family-centric while spanning across the intersections of pain management, chronic care, and complex care. Dr. Liben also discusses how he managed his team and developed integration strategies to become an established service in the hospital space. He recounts some of the initial challenges of educating other clinicians on what pediatric palliative care could bring to a health care team. He also reviews how much adult palliative and adult hospice have influenced and nurtured the pediatric care fields.

Dr. Liben then discusses his work in medical mindfulness with an emphasis on human connections and how he has experienced the “ultimate win-win,” with both healthcare teams and patients being happy with the connections and relationships forged. Dr. Liben concludes with his vision for current pediatric palliative care specialists to “teach ourselves out of a job,” and how he strives to cultivate the next generation of physicians in all specialties to have a holistic patient-first approach that incorporates his field’s mindfulness approach to care for more than just the physical, but also the “logical, spiritual, [and] emotional.”

Liben, Stephen

Blyth Lord oral history transcript.

Ms. Lord begins the interview by recalling her early experience with her daughter and nephew who were both diagnosed with Tay-Sachs disease, but experienced very different types of end-of-life care. Ms. Lord, her husband, and her daughter had a pediatrician that was willing to work and assemble a care team for the family and ultimately provide a rewarding end-of-life experience. Ms. Lord’s nephew’s pediatrician was not similarly equipped and his family experienced stresses, particularly at his end of life, because of that. After reflecting on her daughter’s journey, Ms. Lord wanted the level of care she experienced to be accessible for anyone with Tach-Sachs, thus began her career in advocacy.

Ms. Lord then describes how she and her husband and brother- and-sister-in-law were able to bring all of their familial support together to develop the non-profit, The Lord Foundation, to fund research of Tay-Sachs and the advancement of pediatric palliative care.

Ms. Lord’s background in television and video production then aided her in completing two multimedia projects, Cameron’s Arc, a project with the American Academy of Pediatrics about delivering palliative care from a community-based pediatrician, and Parenting a Child with a Life-threatening Illness, a resource for families affected by Tay-Sachs, GM1, Sandhoff and Canavan disease. Ms. Lord was motivated by positive feedback from clinicians using these movies to teach the new generation of clinicians. She soon left her job to focus full time on developing the Courageous Parents Network (CPN). Ms. Lord says the scope of CPN was initially just for parents, to promote palliative care and help parents hear from other parents through videos, but it has since grown into a large and reputable educational platform for parents and clinicians alike.

Ms. Lord then goes on to describe that one of the primary goals of Courageous Parents Network is to orient and empower families of children with life-threatening diseases as advocates and decision-makers for their child, and to promote palliative care as critical to helping make that possible.

Ms. Lord concludes the interview by describing a series of goals she has; for other parents and families, to know that they always have options and they are not alone; for clinicians, to foster the skillset of palliative care to be a holistic provider.

Lord, Blyth

Joan Marston oral history transcript.

Ms. Marston introduces her career beginnings as a response to the HIV/AIDS crisis in South Africa and describes some of the memorable experiences with youth she cared for. She explains her role in the initial implementation of pediatric palliative day care and home care as well as some of the challenges around growing provider, political, and community education in South Africa. Ms. Marston then talks about her international experiences meeting other in pioneers in the pediatric palliative care field. She touches on her work in developing hospice programs as well as some of the global challenges she’s experienced while establishing palliative care programs. Ms. Marston then goes on to itemize some of the challenges she’s faced in her career and successful methods to counteract those barriers. She concludes with her vison of child palliative care to be integrated into universal health coverage and “accessible to every child’s needs.”

Marston, Joan

Ida Martinson oral history transcript.

Dr. Martinson recalls her career in children dying at home beginning after a backyard conversation with her neighbor and mentor Dr. John Kersey. Dr. Kersey had mentioned that a child with cancer was going to be admitted to the hospital to die. Dr. Martinson questioned the “common practice” of admitting patients who were actively dying to the hospital. After that conversation, she was drafted by Dr. Kersey to assist in the same child’s healthcare. Dr. Martinson then describes her experience with preforming one of the first documented case studies of supporting a child to die at home with their family. She relates her motivation to help the child die with dignity at home to her own profound experience with helping her father in-law pass at home surrounded by family. Dr. Martinson describes her early experiences with clinicians who offered some resistance and skepticism about allowing children to die at home, but she also states that she was supported by most physicians. Dr. Martinson continues by describing how she continued her work to allow other children to die at home and how she grew the practice of dying at home by making herself available for other nurses and health care professionals internationally. Dr. Martinson then mentions the complexities of maintaining and growing her research in the field of dying at home. She concludes with her vision of the field growing to incorporate community medicine and respite care into priorities for healthcare teams for children suffering with chronic diseases.

Martinson, Ida

Balfour Mount oral history transcript.

Dr. Balfour Mount begins the interview by describing a pivotal moment when he heard Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross lecture at McGill University’s Royal Victoria Hospital. Dr. Mount had not previously heard of Kübler-Ross’s work and was impressed to learn about the unmet needs of the dying. When Dr. Mount conducted a similar study at the RVH, he found the same deficiencies in care and carried out a two year pilot project aimed at addressing these needs through the creation of an in-patient ward, a consultation service, a home care program, an outpatient clinic, and a bereavement follow-up service.

Mount, Balfour

Stacy Orloff oral history transcript.

Dr. Stacy Orloff begins the interview describing her experience after completing her MSW degree and one pivotal serendipitous event: she looked at the classified ads in the newspaper for the first time and found a job opening for a children’s program in her local hospice. After she took that position, she found that all her training in life led up to being a children’s advocate in the hospice setting. Dr. Orloff reflects on the beginning of the community-based hospice movement that now seems to provide fewer services than it was once able to due to the regulatory policies. She also describes some of the early challenges she faced with bridging the training gap to equip adult palliative and hospice clinicians with the necessary tools to care for children, even if they might only care for children a few times a year.

Dr. Orloff then recounts several stories of early palliative and hospice care practices that depict the early need for services designed and dedicated to children. Dr. Orloff also describes her experience finding and working with other interdisciplinary practitioners in creating global programming.

Dr. Orloff concludes with her goals of creating streamlined hospice and palliative services for families that also provide other practical services such as economic assistance and respite care. She envisions a time where all providers on the continuum of care can come to the table together to provide the best quality care for children without the barriers of practice “turfs.”

Orloff, Stacy

Danai Papadatou oral history transcript.

Dr. Papadatou introduces her early beginnings in the field of pediatric palliative care and recalls several of influential figures in her life. These figures were “models of professionalism and humanity,” and included her father, her professor, and a 30-year-old woman with ovarian cancer who “made it a point to teach [physicians], advocate [for patients], and prove wrong all the prognostics.” Dr. Papadatou describes her international work in research, education, and her experience with organizing international events that incorporated some of the fields pioneers, such as Charles Corr, Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, Earl Grollman, Ida Martinson, Betty Davies, and many others. Dr. Papadatou then describes her work with seriously ill children in conjunction with the oncology department of her home hospital, as well as her research and policy contributions. She concludes with her perspective on how the field of pediatric palliative care can advance through a movement of interdisciplinary collaboration, communication, and planning.

Papadatou, Danai

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