Infant and Pediatric Palliative Care
Palliative care is a holistic approach to caring for people with chronic, life-threatening or life-limiting conditions. The goal of our Infant and Pediatric Palliative Care program is to improve the quality of life for both you and your child. Palliative care can be provided at the same time as cure-oriented treatment and may guide families as they focus on quality of life.
Hospice care is for patients with any terminal illness and a life expectancy of six months or less. Different from adults, infants and children can receive hospice care while still seeking curative treatments.
Dealing with life-threatening and life-limiting conditions is difficult, but we are here to partner with your family and current healthcare team to:
- Create a care plan that honors your goals and values
- Increase health, well-being and quality of life
- Lessen pain and suffering
- Manage symptoms and side effects from treatment or medications
- Help you make informed decisions
- Coordinate care among your entire healthcare team
When to get pediatric palliative care
Palliative care is most beneficial soon after diagnosis of a life threatening or life-limiting condition. Your child can start palliative care services at any time during treatment. If your family is dealing with a terminal illness, our multidisciplinary team can also provide hospice care for your child, ensuring that he or she has the best quality of remaining life. We also know that grief starts for families at the time of diagnosis. Our grief counselors are available whenever you are ready to provide individual and family supports.
Infant and pediatric palliative care team
The infant and pediatric palliative care team adds an extra layer of support to your current healthcare team. Our team of doctors, nurses, therapists, dietitians and aides deliver personalized, patient-centered care. Members of your team are available around the clock to answer questions and help manage symptoms as they arise.
Melissa Fields, NP
Melissa Fields is a pediatric nurse practitioner and Patient Care Coordinator for Community’s Perinatal, Infant and Pediatric Palliative Care and Hospice program. With a bachelor’s degree from Purdue University and Master’s degree from IUPUI, she is certified in Perinatal Loss Care and as a Certified Hospice and Palliative Pediatric Nurse. Melissa started her career with the network in 2000 as a nurse in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Community North. She has also worked at Community Home Health Services as a hospice nurse case manager. She currently works in close collaboration with the network’s obstetricians, high-risk maternal fetal medicine and the newborn intensive care unit (NICU).
Melissa is an End-of-Life Nursing Education Consortium (ELNEC) trainer, specializing in the pediatric curricula. The ELNEC project is an international education initiative to improve palliative care. She has also completed and helps facilitate Resolve Through Sharing (RTS) bereavement training for healthcare providers. Melissa is passionate about her work with children and families who are experiencing chronic, life-threatening or life-limiting medical conditions. While getting to know families she works with on a personal level, she can help families determine what is important to them, create a plan, and help them reach individual goals. She also enjoys following families in bereavement and completing that continuum of care.
Melissa lives in Noblesville with her two children. She enjoys spending free time with her family.
A doctor’s referral is needed to start the services of the palliative care team, but families are always welcome to call anytime to see if palliative care may be beneficial for your child. Ask your doctor about the value of infant or pediatric palliative care or call our team directly to learn more at 317-621-4900 or 800-404-4852.
Connections of Hope
Connections of Hope is a six-week structured support group for families who have experienced the loss of a pregnancy, infant or young child. Join us as we create connections and a sense of community as we share our stories and talk about the uniqueness of perinatal grief and loss.
To learn more please call InTouch Bereavement at 317-621-4646. Registration is required. Find upcoming grief and bereavement programs >>
Open Arms programs at Community hospitals extend support to families who experience a pregnancy or newborn loss. These free services are coordinated by a Grief Support Person specifically trained to offer support to grieving parents. Services include support by telephone and monthly groups, burial assistance and memorial programs.
Community has two unique newsletters offering education, validation and connection to bereaved families in our community: InTouch Bereavement for loss of a loved one and Connections of Hope for loss of pregnancy or infant. Newsletters are free and mailed several times throughout the year. We care about you and we are here when you need us. Please consider signing up today.