LAS VEGAS – Families whose children are affected by life-limiting conditions have a new resource to provide better understanding and better outpatient care for their loved ones.
The Pediatric Palliative Care Clinic at the Children’s Specialty Center of Nevada is groundbreaking in its efforts to assist parents in this highly specialized medical treatment. It is the first such program for outpatients in Nevada.
Every day, children are born with or experience illnesses, conditions or injuries that threaten or limit their life. Unfortunately, the current healthcare system is complex and full of specialty care options that are often tough for parents to navigate on their own. That is why the Pediatric Palliative Care Clinic is now open at the Children’s Specialty Center of Nevada.
Kathleen Gates, M.D. and Angela Berg, DNP, APRN, CPNP will oversee the program. Dr. Gates is the only physician with extensive experience in pediatric palliative and pediatric hospice care in Nevada. Berg was a registered nurse for 25 years before earning her Doctorate in Nursing Practice in 2015.
Palliative care provides a needed resource. It is family centered and assists with difficult communications, such as addressing advanced directives and goals of care, and the coordination of the specialty care involved in a medical home environment. A significant number of families in Nevada will benefit from these services.
“This underserved area of pediatric care is often misunderstood, even by those in the medical community,” said Angela Berg, DNP, CPNP. “Having a child with complex medical issues is often overwhelming for parents and these special kids. The palliative program will offer the child and family the support they need.”
Pediatric palliative care is not imminent, end-of-life hospice care. A child diagnosed with a congenital condition such as holoprosencephaly or trisomy may live for several years. Palliative care helps the parents feel supported in making the best decisions for the best quality of life for their child, however long they may have them.
Although the American Academy of Pediatrics identified the need and value of these services as far back as 2000, outpatient pediatric palliative care has been lacking, especially in Nevada. Currently, programs only address these needs for children who are in the hospital. Once discharged, the services are no longer available.
Pediatric palliative care is covered by many insurance companies under major medical coverage, not under the hospice benefit. As a program of Cure 4 The Kids Foundation, the Palliative Care Clinic will provide these services to children with or without medical insurance and regardless of the family’s ability to pay.
This highly specialized service will, at all times, strive to offer the best possible quality of life for children and their families when facing stressful life-threatening and life-limiting conditions.