With the mission of supporting pediatric patients and their families facing terminal or serious chronic, incurable medical illnesses, the Hadassah Medical Organization formally inaugurated its Pediatric Palliative and Supportive Care Center (HPPSCC) on January 1, 2017.

Located at Hadassah Hospital Mount Scopus, HPPSCC will provide comprehensive medical care to infants, children, and adolescents who have life-threatening illnesses and/or complex medical conditions. Treatment will be holistic and address both the physical and psychosocial aspects of the illness. Attention will be both on the patient and the family since such medical situations impact the entire family unit.

The Center’s objectives will be to provide medical treatments that improve quality of life, pain remediation when necessary, advanced care planning, family empowerment, respite care, mobilization of resources to assist families, and bereavement counselling. HPPSCC is under the direction of Dr. Rivka Brooks, with Prof. Isaiah Wexler as co-director. Both underwent advanced training in pediatric palliative care prior to the opening of the Center, and consulted with the staff of other palliative care centers, primarily in the United States. Faygie Waxman, who has taken an active role in planning for the Center, will be the HPPSCC’s coordinator. Other consulting staff members include a pulmonologist, gastroenterologist, clinical pharmacologist, psychologist, emergency medicine specialist, dietitian, and social worker. “As the patient base of the HPPSCC comes from a variety of ethnic backgrounds, reflecting the population of Greater Jerusalem and Israel,” explains Dr. Brooks, “we have employed an experienced medical translator, who will also act as a facilitator for the families.” In addition, there is now an office at Hadassah Mt. Scopus that will serve as a resource center for parents.

Research and Outreach

The HPPSCC staff will devote a large portion of its efforts to research in the area of palliative care and education. The Government of Israel has already awarded HPPSCC a grant to investigate the medical needs of families who have children with complex medical conditions.  Also in HPPSCC’s plans is sponsorship of a conference on pediatric palliative and supportive care, with guest lecturers coming from major centers in the United States and Europe. During its inaugural year, HPPSCC will be raising awareness among patients and families about the launch of the Center, and consulting with colleagues to identify patients and families who would benefit from the services it offers. Beginning with patients from Hadassah, HPPSCC will then expand to include referrals from other medical centers and the health maintenance organizations. To facilitate public awareness about HPPSCC, the Center will host several seminars targeting pediatricians and healthcare workers who are in a position to serve as a referral source.

The HPPSCC is generously supported by contributions, including seed funding from the Sacha Charitable Foundation (Bermuda) and the Adam Goldsmith Memorial Fund for family empowerment, which have enabled the establishment of the Center and are supporting its initial operations.  It is the goal of the staff to make the Center self-supporting, through negotiations with the Israeli health maintenance organizations, and for future fund-raising support to be targeted to providing special extra services to families, along with educational activities, and development of additional resources.

Photo above: Professor Isaiah Wexler, Co-director  and Dr. Rivka Brooks, Director of the HPPSCC

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