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Hospice Buffalo restructuring expands pediatric program

A structural realignment will allow a Center for Hospice & Palliative Care program that provides home care for children to expand and serve more pediatric patients, center officials announced Tuesday.

The Essential Care for Children program since 1998 has been part of the center’s Home Care Buffalo, a certified home health agency that also cared for adult patients. As part of a certified home health agency, the pediatric program was required to follow a strict medical model, said Dr. Christopher Kerr, the center's interim CEO and chief medical officer.

By aligning the program under Supportive Medical Partners, the center’s palliative care physician and nurse case management practice, the program can serve the holistic needs of children with serious and terminal illnesses.

The five employees who have served the dozen or so children now in the program will continue to serve them under this realignment, which is expected to double the number of children served, Kerr said.
With the center ending Home Care Buffalo’s operations, its two adult patients were shifted to the care of another home health agency of their choice, officials said.

In another change, the center is partnering with Women & Children’s Hospital of Buffalo to establish an inpatient palliative care service, based at the hospital and led by a newly hired pediatric palliative care physician.

---Stephen T. Watson

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