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Phoenix Children’s Palliative Care Team Celebrates 10 Successful Years of Improving Patient and Families’ Quality of Life

Interdisciplinary program expands its reach with strategic partner Hospice of the Valley

Embarking on a second decade of serving patients and families in their most vulnerable moments, Phoenix Children’s Hospital’s Palliative Care department will continue providing their world-class, family-centric care offering, expanding its reach with strategic partner, Hospice of the Valley.

We are excited to strengthen our relationship with our long-time partner, Hospice of the Valley,” said Tressia M. Shaw, MD, Section Chief of Palliative Care at Phoenix Children’s. “Without the dedication, commitment and assistance from Hospice of the Valley, our team could not provide the depth and continuity of care that support healing for the children and families we serve.”

In 2009, the palliative care team gave consultation on 52 patient cases, and in 2018 that grew to more than 500 consultations. All told in the last 10 years, Phoenix Children’s Palliative Care provided care to more than 1,837 unique patients and families during their journey with a life-limiting or serious health condition.

“The most common misconception about palliative care is that it is only end-of-life care,” said Dr. Shaw. “When in fact, pediatric palliative care promotes the best quality of life possible by providing support for children with life-threatening and life-limiting conditions throughout their journey.”

With its expanded strategic partnership with Hospice of the Valley, the Palliative Care department recently hired a new palliative care physician, Billie Winegard, MD, who started at Phoenix Children’s in October 2019. Dr. Winegard comes from Children’s Hospital of Illinois, and she completed her pediatric residency with Phoenix Children’s. Her return to Arizona helps give specialized care to the state’s rapidly growing population of young families.

With Dr. Winegard’s addition, Phoenix Children’s Palliative Care now consists of 11 team members, including five pediatric hospice and palliative medicine board-certified physicians. The team recently expanded its services to offer outpatient care, giving support to families in a new, meaningful way, and it continues patient care with touchpoints across all of the system’s specialties.

Another major milestone in the last 10 years, the Phoenix Children’s Palliative Care team is now offering a new fellowship that uniquely educates pediatric talent. Phoenix Children’s Pediatric Hospice & Palliative Care Medicine Fellowship is one of only nine fellowships in the country offered by a pediatric institution. The fellowship equips physicians with a specialized skill set to care for pediatric patients and families with complex needs, all within Phoenix Children’s dynamic, expanding team.

“The Palliative Care department’s story exemplifies the forward-thinking and exceptional leadership at Phoenix Children’s,” says Debbie Shumway, executive director, Hospice of the Valley. “The collaboration with Phoenix Children’s demonstrates our commitment to an incredible partnership, which is so important to all of us in our community.”

Under Dr. Shaw’s leadership, the Palliative Care department at Phoenix Children’s grew its footprint not only in volume and development but also in robust expertise and services offered to handle the most complex pediatric patient cases.

“Our program also offers bereavement support, in and out of the hospital,” said Dr. Shaw. “Families need resources like sibling support, grief groups, home visits and more. They receive all of this from a trusted contact who works with them throughout the entire process.”

About Phoenix Children’s

Phoenix Children’s Hospital is Arizona’s only children’s hospital recognized by U.S. News & World Report’s Best Children’s Hospitals. For 35 years Phoenix Children's has provided world-class inpatient, outpatient, trauma, emergency and urgent care to children and families in Arizona and throughout the Southwest. As one of the largest children’s hospitals in the country, Phoenix Children’s delivers care across more than 75 pediatric specialties. Recognized specifically for its patient-focused innovation, medical education, growth and research, Phoenix Children’s was named Business of the Year and Exceptional Innovator by the Greater Phoenix Chamber in 2018. For more information about the hospital, visit http://www.phoenixchildrens.org.

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