EASTON — Talbot Hospice recently announced the launch of its Pediatric Care Program.

The program is designed to provide support to children and their families who are facing life-limiting illness, and to offer counseling and other services to help families with grief, according to a news release from Talbot Hospice.

As a member of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, Talbot Hospice has developed its Pediatric Care Program to comply with the NHPCO Standards of Practice for Hospice Programs. These standards guide hospice programs that provide care to patients in the perinatal period, infancy, childhood, adolescence and adulthood.

Using these standards as a model, Talbot Hospice has developed partnerships to address challenges found in providing care to children and their families. In particular, they will address the fragmentation of care that can result when children and families travel far from home for treatment, by facilitating and supporting their connection to their established medical, emotional and spiritual sources of support in their home community.

Talbot Hospice has named Dr. Mark Langfitt, an Easton pediatrician, as its associate medical director for Pediatric Care. He will provide oversight for the development and ongoing monitoring of provision of care that is suited to the unique need of pediatric patients.

Talbot Hospice has also arranged for expert consultation from the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Maryland Medical Center. Dr. Steven Czinn, chairman of the department, and several faculty members with interest in palliative care and end-of-life management in pediatrics will be available to ensure age-appropriate and evidence-based care is provided to pediatric hospice patients.

The collaboration with UMMC also includes involvement with its Center for Infant and Child Loss, a charitable organization within the Division of Neonatology, Department of Pediatrics at the School of Medicine. Funded in part by Maryland’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the center is committed to assuring Maryland families facing the sudden unexpected loss of their infant or child have access to bereavement interventions, counseling, and information based on best practices and current research.

Talbot Hospice has also become an institutional member of Children’s Hospice International, an award-winning nonprofit organization that pioneered and promoted the idea that critically ill children should have access to hospice and palliative care along with curative care from the time of diagnosis of any life-threatening condition. With congressional support, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, CHI developed the Children’s Program of All-inclusive Coordinated Care to achieve these goals.

“Our mission at Talbot Hospice is to provide services to anyone who lives in Talbot County,” Dr. Michael Tooke, medical director, said in the release. “With our development of pediatric care, we can do so without regard to a patient’s age. We also want families to know that we can support them even while they continue to seek curative therapy for their children.”

Talbot Hospice has medical, social work, bereavement, spiritual and volunteer resources that can address and meet the needs of these patients and families. The Pediatric Care Program will also incorporate the existing services that Talbot Hospice provides to pediatric patients and families; including the Rainbow Days school program, Camp Spirit, and individual bereavement counseling.

With these collaborations in place, coupled with its 34-year history of providing hospice services to the community, Talbot Hospice will provide hospice interdisciplinary care and support to the children and families of Talbot County. For more information, call Talbot Hospice at 410-822-2724.

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