Sanford Childrens Pediatric Palliative Care Program Receives Grant from Wellmark Foundation

The Wellmark Foundation awarded $88,417 in grant funds to The Fund for Advancement of Medical Education and Research in Sioux Falls, S.D., to create a pediatric palliative care program.

The Wellmark Foundation awarded $88,417 in grant funds to The Fund for Advancement of Medical Education and Research in Sioux Falls, S.D., to create a pediatric palliative care program.

The Pediatric Palliative Care Program is designed to improve the standard of care for children at the end of life, says Lawrence J. Fenton, M.D., professor emeritus at the University of South Dakota’s Sanford School of Medicine and chief of the pediatric palliative care section at Sanford Children’s Hospital. “The program, which is a cooperative project of the Sanford School of Medicine and the Sanford Children’s Hospital in Sioux Falls, will have statewide impact as children from every county of the state are treated at the hospital,” says Fenton. “Our pediatric palliative care program will offer a team of people who are trained to provide end-of-life counseling, emotional and spiritual support for children and their families, as well as pain and anxiety management for children,” says Fenton.

According to Fenton, the project’s first focus will be on educating and training a core group of health professionals who will be providing palliative care services to children and their families. Plans include specialized training sessions, educational conferences, palliative care team meetings, and distribution of books, journals and instructional materials. For more information about the Pediatric Palliative Care Program, contact Fenton at (605) 333-7197 or lawrence.fenton@usd.edu.

The Wellmark Foundation has provided more than $12.77 million to fund 374 health-related grants in Iowa and South Dakota since 1997, including a total of $1,854,175 to date in 2007. “The Wellmark Foundation works to improve the health of Iowans and South Dakotans,” says Matthew McGarvey, director of The Wellmark Foundation. “The Pediatric Palliative Care Program will meet a great need in South Dakota as Sanford Children's Hospital will be the only entity in the state to offer a comprehensive palliative care program for children and their families.”

The Wellmark Foundation is a private, non-profit foundation created by Wellmark, Inc., doing business as Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Iowa. Visit The Wellmark Foundation's Web site at www.wellmark.com/foundation for a list of grant recipients and grant application instructions. Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield and The Wellmark Foundation are independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.