St. Francis Pediatric Palliative Care
About Pediatric Palliative Care
Pediatric palliative care is specialized medical care for children with serious illness. This type of care is focused on providing children with relief from the symptoms, pain and stress of a serious illness, whatever the diagnosis. The goal is to improve quality of life for both the child and the family. Palliative care is provided by a team of doctors, nurses and other specialists who work with a patient’s primary health care team to provide an extra layer of support and multi-disciplinary services for the child and for the child's family. Pediatric palliative care is appropriate at any stage in a serious illness, and can be provided together with curative treatments such as chemotherapy, surgery, radiation, hospitalization.
Who We Treat
We treat a wide range of conditions, including:
- Genetic disorders
- Premature birth
- Heart and lung conditions
- Neurological disorders
If your child’s condition is not listed, please contact us to learn how we can help.
Our team provides a variety of support services, including:
- Easing pain and other symptoms. We improve the patient’s and family’s quality of life by easing the child’s pain and managing symptoms.
- Establishing goals of care. The palliative care team works closely with the family and the child’s health care providers to establish treatment goals and clarify priorities of care.
- Health care decision making. Our team explains complicated terms, discusses care options with the family and helps them make decisions based on their values, traditions and preferences.
- Emotional support. We provide emotional, social and spiritual support to help patients and families carry on with everyday life.
- Communicating with providers to coordinate care. We provide communication among the patient, family and health care team to give families the information and guidance needed to make the best health care decisions for their child. We also promote continuity of care between services and multiple admissions.
- Sibling support. We understand that when one family member is hospitalized, the entire family is affected. Our team helps siblings understand their brother’s or sister’s diagnosis or medical care. We also help support continued bonds and normal family experiences during extended separations and disruption to family routines caused by hospitalization.
- Integrating community resources. We work with community resources to link hospital programs with community-based home care.
Click here to view a Video Message about St. Francis’ Reflections Pediatric Palliative Care program from our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Lauren Loftis.
Meet our Medical Director
Lauren Loftis MD was born in Chicago, IL and grew up in Houston, TX. She received her medical degree from UT Southwestern Medical School in Dallas, Texas. She then completed internship and residency in Family Medicine at John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth, Texas. After residency she became dual board certified in both Family Medicine and Hospice and Palliative Care. Dr. Loftis spent ten years of her career as a small town, rural family practice physician serving an isolated community in the mountains in Southwest Colorado. She was the only hospice physician for 250 linear miles in any direction and provided care to patients of all ages during that time. She joined St Francis Reflections as Chief Medical Officer in February of 2020. She came to St Francis and Brevard County happy to return to the coastal south and eager to be able to devote her full practice and attention solely to hospice and palliative medicine. She has a physician spouse and two teenage children who are avid space and surf fans. All are happy to trade dark cold mornings in deep snow for sunny Florida.
My first full time day on site at HOSF was the same day that the federal state of emergency was declared. Since March, I have been working diligently to navigate SFR's response and planning endeavors related to COVID-19. During this time, SFR has continued to provide care to all of our patients in all of our care settings without pause. We have faced significant challenges and continue to assess and respond to new challenges on a daily basis. I am happy to discuss the myriad of ways that COVID-19 has impacted HOSF and how we have responded to this unprecedented challenge.