Pediatric Palliative Care To Improve The Quality Of Life

Known for her expertise in pediatric end-of-life care, Catherine “Cathie” Faulkner, RN, MSN joined the Regional Hospice and Palliative Care (RHPC) team earlier this year, in the role of Pediatric Clinical Manager/Liaison. In this position, she will use her breadth and depth of experience to support the RHPC population of terminally ill children and their families.

Team of social workers

Working alongside the Regional Hospice interdisciplinary team of social workers, chaplains, home health aides and volunteers, Faulkner will serve as a critical resource for families as they navigate the complex journey of pediatric end-of-life care. Faulkner explains that this is not a well-traveled road. “They help people walk this path,” she says.

“I’m with them at every step, educating and empowering; so them through each phase of the process. We navigate it together.” A graduate of Columbia University in multiple disciplines nursing, religion, pediatric pulmonary care and marketing management Faulkner has held progressively executive positions; so within the healthcare industry throughout her career.

For the past 11 years, she has specialized in pediatric hospice. Pediatric palliative care is an interdisciplinary collaboration that seeks to improve; the quality of life of all children with life-threatening conditions, as well as their families. It focuses on prevention and relief of suffering; so regardless of the stage of disease; also comprehensively addresses the physical, psychosocial, or spiritual needs of the child and family

Pediatric palliative care

Faulkner’s appointment highlights Regional Hospice’s state leadership in pediatric hospice care. “No one is providing the care for children with life-ending illness the way that we do,” Faulkner says. This year, RHPC will begin construction on a center expansion; which will include four purpose-built pediatric suites that will be designed with pediatric patients in mind.

This will be the first pediatric hospice unit in the east and only the fifth nationwide. “As we move forward in our commitment to caring for children at the end stage of life; they are incredibly grateful to have Cathie with us,” says Cynthia Emiry Roy; Regional Hospice and Palliative Care President & CEO.

“Her grace, expertise and strength translate into the right kind of combination to help our young patients and their families.” When asked how she manages to work with dying children, Faulkner shakes her head and smiles. “No one wants to lose a child, but people do,” she says. “If a family invites me in to share this space with them; also in some small way they can smooth the edges, they want to be there. Someone has to be there.”