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The 48th issue of the ChiPPS E-Journal looks at spiritual care of children and their families

30 August 2017

The 48th issue of the ChiPPS E-Journal from the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization has been published with a wide range of articles focusing on spiritual care of children and their families.

The 48th issue of the ChiPPS E-Journal (August 2017) offers a collection of articles that explore selected issues in symptom management with children. The articles offer suggestions for and examples of engaging in this important aspect of providing palliative and hospice care to children. 

The E-Journal is produced by ChiPPS (the Children's Project on Palliative/Hospice Services), a programme of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization and, in particular, by NHPCO's E-Journal Work Group, chaired by Christy Torkildson. 

Articles in this issue include:

Suspended Kristin Wickless, RN, BSN
A poem by a nurse who works in a children’s hospital NICU and who is a mother to a palliative care patient. Her poem reminds us of her “terror and the child in the bed on whose next breath the fate of the world depends.”

A Mother’s Perspective on Palliative Spiritual Care: What Helped, What is Still Needed” Dannell Shu
In this article, the author writes as the mother of a child who needed pediatric palliative care during the entire seven years of his life. She notes that “The spiritual care we received fluctuated greatly throughout these seven years” and then describes seven beneficial services they did receive along with two services they never found.

“Existential Distress”: Alleviating a Teen’s Psychological Pain at the End of Life Ann Fitzsimons, BS, MBA
This article turns the focus to a teenager and the interdisciplinary team that was caring for him by telling the “story of how a very caring and intuitive inter-disciplinary team alleviated the ‘existential suffering’ of a teenage boy who was facing his impending death by watching and listening to what he was saying, and not saying, at the end of his life.”

The Role of Hope in Pediatric Palliative Care Suzanne Toce, MD
This thoughtful review of the issues involved rightly concludes that “hope is an important part of healing for children with life-limiting conditions and their families. Hope(s) change over time and significantly contributes to coping and decision-making.  

The Role of Spirituality in Caring for Children and Their Families The Reverend Harlan E. Ratmeyer, D. Min.
The main thrust of this article is to argue that “especially in long-term relationships in palliative care, the spirituality of the staff becomes more and more visible. How we perceive our job or vocation, how we communicate awe and wonder gradually emerge for children and families to view.  

A Village of Care M. Karen Ballard, MCM, BCC
In this article, an experienced pediatric palliative care chaplain argues that, “Spiritual care is not so much the application of a particular discipline as it is an organic way of being in a relationship with families."  

Supportive Care: Be the Door  Karen Wilson-Kedro, OT
This article describes an occupational therapist’s role in providing supportive care and, in particular, what she learned from her interactions with “a teenage girl who had a self-inflicted injury,” a girl who was coping with multiple life challenges in addition to the fact that she was “a girl with a significantly injured face, who could not talk, and had uncertain vision and cognitive processing.”

Who Ya Gonna Call? Rev. Becky Johnson, MDiv, BCC
Case examples in this article describe the work of an experienced pediatric chaplain. She points out that one important way to support youngsters and their families in this role is to ask: “How can we best honor your family and spiritual traditions at this time?” 

Using Art to Facilitate Spiritual Exploration Rev. Kirstin Springmeyer, MDiv, BCC
In this article, the author uses three case examples and three different types of art tools to advocate for the value of “using art as a means for spiritual and religious reflection."

Religion, Spirituality, and Pediatric Patients and Families: Research, Assessment, and Care Melissa Kurtz, MSN, MA, RN, PhDc, & Ashley Hurst, JD, MDiv, MA
According to the authors, this article provides an overview of current research related to religion and spirituality for pediatric patients and families, describes the available spiritual assessment tools and care process for pediatric patients and families, and suggests areas of future research that could help inform and strengthen healthcare teams’ provision of spiritual care to children and families. 

Nurses and Spiritual Care of Seriously-Ill Children and Their Families Betty R. Ferrell, RN, PHD, MA, FAAN, FPCN, CHPN
This article summarizes two recent articles on the spiritual care needs of seriously-ill children and their families, and nurses’ experiences in spiritual communication with seriously-ill children.

Trends in Pediatric Palliative Care Citation List, 2017, #6 Commentary by Dr. Adam Rapoport
This citation list is generated monthly by PedPalASCNET to collect new articles in pediatric palliative care research.

Click here to download a copy of this latest edition of the ChiPPS E-Journal

Archived issues of this publication are available at

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