National Pediatric Symposium Joins the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Conference in Ottawa

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OTTAWA, Oct. 30, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Professionals from across Canada gather in Ottawa this week for the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Conference and to discuss emerging issues and innovative solutions to the delivery of care at the end of life. This year the conference will be preceded by a full day national pediatric symposium to discuss the challenges faced when caring for children at the end of life - an area that often goes unrecognized.

Pediatric hospice palliative care is a holistic approach to care that focuses on relieving the physical, spiritual and other suffering experienced by children with a life-threatening condition and their families. "The trajectory of a child's illness is very different and much more complex than that of adults at the end of life," explains Sharon Baxter, Executive Director, Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association (CHPCA), "the possibility of children dying is so contrary to our hopes and expectations that it escapes the attention of health care funders, providers, and educators. We hope that this Symposium will raise some much needed awareness for this issue."

The day-long symposium will feature speakers from across the country as well as Joan Marston, Chief Executive of the International Pediatric Palliative Care Network, who will speak on what Canada can do to help create a global network. "It is important for us to gather at both the national and international level to ensure that children are benefiting from the very best practices in pediatric hospice palliative care," said Marston, "together we can create a global community that responds to the needs of our most vulnerable and their families."

Topics also include sociocultural trends in thinking about a child's death, transition from ICU to home, perinatal hospice, best practice in pain management, teamwork and spiritual care, and video presentations on loss and bereavement.

Pediatric hospices are a component of palliative care services available in some parts of Canada that offer a range of services to support the unique needs of children and their families and they tend to be involved earlier and for longer periods of time along the trajectory of the illness. An eight bed free standing hospice located in Ottawa, Roger's House, offers respite care, acute end of life care, pain and symptom management, perinatal hospice care, transitional care and grief and bereavement support for children and families. Roger's House partners with the Palliative Care Program at the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario in providing hospice and palliative care to Eastern and Northern Ontario.

"Roger's House and CHEO are proud to partner with the CHPCA and the Canadian Network of Pediatric Hospices to host this educational symposium. We believe that it's not only about the child, but it is also about focusing on the needs of the family – parents, siblings and extended family" stated Lloyd Cowin, Executive Director of Rogers House. "We need to recognize that in spite of ongoing progress in the care of critically ill children, there remain circumstances of severe and overwhelming illness that result in death."

The Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Conference will bring together over 500 hospice palliative care clinicians, researchers, educators and volunteers from across Canada and around the world to share their knowledge, ideas and experiences in hospice palliative care. The Conference features more than 150 Canadian and international experts presenting the latest developments in hospice palliative care research, clinical practice, programs, education and international issues, including the topic of pediatric hospice palliative care.

The 2013 Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Conference would not be possible without the assistance of its sponsors, including: Bayshore HealthCare, Canadian Partnership Against Cancer, Purdue Pharma and We Care Home Health Services.

CONTACT: Vanessa Sherry Communications Officer E-mail: vsherry@bruyere.org Phone: 613-241-3663 ext. 229 Cell: 613-697-0264

Source:Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association