American Hospital Association honors Akron Children’s palliative care program

Akron Children's gets Circle of Life honor


The Haslinger Family Pediatric Palliative Care Center at Akron Children’s Hospital has been named a Circle of Life Award winner by the American Hospital Association. The award, presented to only three programs in the country, recognizes the center for its innovative work in improving care for patients with life-threatening conditions, as well as those near the end of life.

Sarah Friebert, M.D., founder and director of the Haslinger Family Pediatric Palliative Care Center, will be presented with the award July 20 in San Francisco at the American Hospital Association/Health Forum Leadership Summit.

“The Circle of Life Award Committee was particularly impressed with Akron Children’s high levels of engagement in patient care, research and education, as well as the strong integration of family members into the work of the center,” said Rich Umbdenstock, president and CEO of the American Hospital Association.

Circle of Life Award winners are chosen by a selection committee made up of leaders from medicine, nursing, social work, ethics and health administration. The committee focuses on innovative programs that respond to patient goals and preferences, provide comprehensive care, acknowledge and address family or caregivers’ concerns and needs, and build systems and mechanism of support to continue the program for future patients and caregivers.

As it celebrates its 10th anniversary this July, the Haslinger Family Pediatric Palliative Care Center has touched the lives of more than 1,500 children and their families facing chronic, complex and life-threatening illnesses from 52 Ohio counties and seven other states. The center provides not only medical care, but psychological, emotional, social, spiritual, and educational support to its patients and their families. Families also count on the center’s staff to provide timely and accurate information and support in decision making.

“We are honored to receive the Circle of Life Award, which comes at a special time as we celebrate and reflect on our first ten years as a center,” said Dr. Friebert. “Palliative care - the art and science of providing holistic care to patients and families facing life-threatening illness - is still a young discipline in medicine. It can be quite difficult navigating a serious illness so our mission is to help these children and their families walk on that road and feel as supported as possible whether they are pursuing cure-directed therapy or not.”

Akron Children’s program is one of the largest pediatric palliative care centers in the country, one of the first to create a pediatric fellowship training program and, through the Center to Advance Palliative Care, continues to host teams from around the country aiming to enhance or establish their own pediatric palliative care programs.

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Pediatric palliative care team receives AHA Circle of Life honors

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