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Pediatric Palliative Care Elective

We offer a 4-week pediatric subspecialty elective in palliative care to 4th year medical students.


  • Gain insight into the philosophy, goals and practice of palliative care in the pediatric setting for children and families facing life-threatening illness
  • Learn to communicate with seriously ill pediatric patients and their families, and to explore family dynamics, end-of-life decision-making, and the dying process
  • Become familiar with the process of interdisciplinary team care and to understand the roles played by non-medical members of the team
  • Understand the developmental, ethical, social, practical and spiritual challenges faced by children with life-threatening illness and their families


  • Rotate with the palliative medicine physicians, nurse practitioners, social workers, case manager, bereavement coordinator, chaplain and other members of the team
  • Participate in consultations, inpatient rounds, family meetings and home visits with the interdisciplinary team
  • Attend palliative care interdisciplinary team meetings and other regular meetings occurring during the rotation (i.e. Ethics Committee, Fetal Treatment Center Meeting, Pediatric Hospice Interdisciplinary Team Meeting)
  • Read seminal articles in the field of pediatric palliative care
  • Keep a journal of experiences, insights and personal reflections, discuss patients and journal content (as appropriate) in weekly meetings with the elective preceptor
  • Typical daily schedule: Hospital rounds with palliative care medical/consult service, family meetings, home visits and team meetings (usually 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.)
  • Night call/special requirements: None
Hirsh, Cassandra, DO

Cassandra Hirsh, DO, Elective Director


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