Circles of Influence

Highlights of the Continuing Journey of Past Circle of Life Winners


Organization:  Haslinger Family Pediatric Palliative Care Center at Akron Children’s Hospital, Akron, OH

Innovative highlights recognized were its expressive therapy center, focus on research and education and collaboration with other hospitals, hospices and medical school.

Recent Achievements:  In 2016, our palliative care center created two satellite locations to better serve our patients and families who live further from Akron Children’s Hospital’s main campus in Akron. There are now satellite locations at the hospital’s campus in Youngstown, Ohio, which is about an hour east of the main campus. A full-time nurse practitioner manages inpatient, outpatient, and home visits for patients in that area. We also hold a satellite outpatient clinic in Mansfield, Ohio once a month for patients in that area, about an hour south of the main campus.

The Haslinger Center is currently involved in research study with Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital about advance care planning for teens with cancer. The study is funded by a grant from the NIH’s National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR).

In 2015, our palliative care center started a hospital-wide initiative to streamline end-of-life care outside of the ICU and to improve bedside nurse comfort level and education during this critical time. One outcome measure has been the integration of a policy addressing exceptions to restrictive policies that can impede care for children at end of life. We also embarked on an organizational approach to address the needs of children and teens with substance use disorders. Further, we have begun exploration into enhanced integrative therapy offering for patients, families and staff. Additionally, the 3rd installment in our documentary series was completed, focusing on grief and loss in the perinatal period along with uncertainty in decision making.

Our center spearheaded the introduction of Schwartz Rounds to Akron Children’s Hospital in 2013; the programming has been extremely well-received and is continuing monthly. Sessions of varying topics are available for caregivers throughout the organization, with the goal of fostering the human connection between patients and caregivers, compassion and self-care.

The Haslinger Center received Advanced Certification in Palliative Care through The Joint Commission in 2013, only the second pediatric palliative care program in the country to receive this certification. The program was reaccredited in 2015 after a very positive site visit and did not receive any citations.

The Expressive Therapy Center celebrated its 5th anniversary this year. Grant and philanthropic support has enhanced the offerings for patients, families, staff and the community through collaboration with community artists and arts organizations.

Through a federal grant from the Center for Medicaid & Medicare Innovation, the program was able to conduct in-depth care for children with complex, chronic medical conditions, using a comprehensive model of care aimed at keeping children well and at home while resulting in lower costs. A specialized team of nurse case managers, social workers and a dietitian tracked high-touch outcomes for children with neurologic disability who are non-orally fed. The project came to an end in 2015, but data is still being analyzed to enhance scale and spread of project outcomes throughout the Akron Children’s enterprise as well as to other organizations. Lessons learned from this pilot project will also inform care delivery for the palliative care team as a whole.

Award Impact: The Circle of Life Award was a great honor for the palliative care team, validating our course as we truly strive to provide the best care possible to patients and families through their entire journey, including bereavement. It was a gratefully received opportunity for more community education about pediatric palliative care and the crucial role it can serve for children and families and all whose lives they touch. Further, the award truly enhanced the profile of the Center throughout the Akron Children’s Hospital enterprise.

Organization: Calvary Hospital, Bronx, NY

Innovation highlights were its department of family care and family intervention team, Center for Curative and Palliative Wound Care, and cancer care technician training program.

Recent Achievements: In 2014, Calvary will open the Dawn Greene Hospice at Mary Manning Walsh Home, located on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. This 10-bed inpatient hospice will offer Manhattan residents an option for quality end-of-life and palliative care, led by Calvary caregivers. The hospice is named in recognition of a leadership gift from the Jerome L. Greene Foundation, whose late president, Dawn Greene, one of New York City’s most esteemed philanthropists, was a champion of Calvary’s compassionate, comprehensive care.

Calvary is collaborating with the Rogosin Institute, one of the world’s foremost research and treatment centers for kidney disease, in a research study focusing on a novel treatment for colorectal cancer. Calvary’s medical director and the director of the Palliative Care Institute are leading this study at Calvary.

Our bereavement programs are more robust than ever. In 2014, we expect to expand these programs to Manhattan, at a location near the Dawn Greene Hospice. We look forward to serving more bereaved adults, teens and young children than was ever possible in the past.

For the past seven years, Calvary has hosted a Pastoral Care Day at the hospital’s Bronx campus, which was well attended and well received by area chaplains and clinicians. In October 2014, Calvary will host Pastoral Care Day at a convenient location in midtown Manhattan, so that as many people as possible can attend this stimulating and provocative day of learning, spiritual renewal and networking.

Award Impact: Receiving the Circle of Life Award was a great honor for Calvary Hospital. As one of the most prestigious awards in the field of palliative care, it has helped advance our overall visibility. It has also been an asset in terms of our fund-raising and outreach efforts, especially because the award recognizes the hospital’s excellence through an objective, fact-finding review process.

Receiving the Circle of Life Award increased the program’s dedication to pediatric palliative care and bereavement research. While research had already been a key area of focus, the Circle of Life recognition brought home the importance of continuing and expanding efforts at documenting quality outcomes. Additionally, the award aided in achieving advanced certification from The Joint Commission, and it spurred the program to redouble efforts to collaborate with other institutions on research projects, which can only enhance evidence-based practice as more knowledge is gained.

Organization: Sharp HealthCare, San Diego, CA

Innovation highlights were its strategic integration of palliative care to manage health of population, case finding approach at primary care level, and strong culture of quality improvement.



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