Mr. Eric Stephanson begins the interview by describing his path into ministry and divinity and how that intersected over a lifetime, into a career in pediatric palliative and pediatric hospice care. Mr. Stephanson describes how spiritual guidance grew into the services offered at Canuck Place Children’s Hospice, the first free-standing North American children’s hospice, and how Mr. Stephanson took a chance opportunity to be on the first cohort of multidisciplinary professionals working to deliver palliative services to children in North America.
Mr. Stephanson then goes on to describe how his life experience as a minister helped prepare him to be “comfortable with being uncomfortable” as he approached families in crisis as their child became seriously ill. Mr. Stephanson describes his best teachers of whole human care to be the children themselves, their families, the nurses, and the social workers. He also describes the multidisciplinary model of health care at Canuck Place and how giving every team member, children and families included, a space to speak face to face and ask questions, resulted in people feeling they’ve received the utmost care and people would say “We just love coming to the hospice.”
Mr. Stephanson concludes with his desire to see that pediatric palliative care and pediatric hospice care become fully integrated. He also describes how holistic health care planning could better meet the needs of ill and suffering children by providing more freedom to switch between medical curative care and palliative care in a multidisciplinary model.