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Artists rendering of the view of the Shawn Jenkins Children's Hospital from the Ashley River

Palliative care

Heather Perkins
October 15, 2018

Palliative care is a medical specialty dedicated to providing patients and their families with relief from the symptoms, pain, and stress of a serious, chronic or life-threatening illness.

It includes end-of-life care, but is different from hospice in that it often begins at diagnosis and continues throughout treatment.

At MUSC, the pediatric palliative care team helps guide patients and families through the full range of physical, emotional, social, and spiritual challenges that can arise during a serious illness. Among the services they provide:

  • Pain and symptom management
  • Education about medical conditions
  • Help navigating the health care system
  • Emotional and spiritual support for both patients and families
  • Coordination of care between home and the hospital

Looking ahead, we aim to ensure that these needs and others continue to be fully met in the new MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital and Pearl Tourville Women’s Pavilion. Gifts from people like you will help make that possible.

How you can help

An expanded community of support

Our greatest needs include an expanded psychosocial staff, including social workers, a chaplain, child life specialists, and expressive therapists, as well as endowed clinical positions for a medical director or advanced practice nurse. We also must provide our team with ongoing professional development opportunities.

An integrative medicine program

Expressive therapies such as art and music therapy, massage therapy, and aromatherapy are tremendously therapeutic, but generally are not reimbursable. They must be supported by philanthropy.

Home and community-based programs

Palliative care goes beyond the walls of the hospital and relies heavily on services provided in the home. We must invest in additional staff and telehealth capabilities to provide these services in our patients’ homes.

A family support fund

We have established a fund to help families cope with some of the unexpected financial burdens arising from their child’s illness, including meals, parking, travel costs, and more expensive items such as bills, rent/mortgage, and car repairs.

A bereavement program

The CORAL (Children’s Organizational Resource Acknowledging Life & Loss) bereavement program provides grief and bereavement services to those facing the loss of a loved one. Such support comes in the form of legacy-making activities, supportive mailings, support groups and memorial services. Families receive this support for at least two years following the death of a loved one.

About the Author

Heather Perkins

Keywords: Building details