Remembering Baby Arlene - Palliative Care
A 2-month old child, born with a life-threatening congenital condition, inspired Natividad’s staff to request funding to provide palliative care for babies and children, as well as adult patients. Baby Arlene’s parents cared for her at home, yet, unable to face the "end-of-life" process alone, they brought their child to Natividad Medical Center's Pediatric Unit for her final days. The staff instituted palliative care services they had been trained on including pain management, comfort and psychosocial, spiritual and emotional support for the family.
Baby Arlene passed away quietly. Her mother said, “We have peace that everything was done for our daughter, and because the nurses thought to help us take pictures, I can look at my baby now.”
Compassionate outcomes such as this, via the initial steps taken in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and Pediatric Unit, have resulted in a commitment from the Palliative Care Team and hospital administration to formalize and expand the Palliative Care program. The program has now been rolled out to the rest of the hospital, including the Medical/Surgical Unit, adult Intensive Care Unit, Acute Rehabilitation Unit and the Emergency Department through staff training and development.