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Physician Connection
A Communication Service for Physicians from CHOC and CHOC at Mission. Please Note: Physician Connection is no longer being printed and is now available electronically. Please visit our blog at http://docs.chocchildrens.org for the latest articles for our physician community. You can also receive our electronic Physician Connection newsletter in your inbox by subscribing to our mailing list: http://www.choc.org/subscribe

Rainbow Room is Latest Phase of Palliative Care at CHOC

The only hospital room of its kind in Orange County, and possibly Southern California, the "Rainbow Room" quietly opened on the CHOC Hematology/Oncology Unit in November. This beautifully decorated double room, funded by a generous gift from the Hope For Humanity Guild, is outfitted with every amenity to make a patient's last days as comfortable as possible. For some patients, it is the last phase of a palliative care program that begins at diagnosis, says pediatric oncologist Ivan Kirov, M.D., who directs the CHOC Recurrent Cancer Program.

"CHOC has always regarded palliative care as part of cancer treatment. Symptom control and quality-of-life issues are high priority in all stages of pediatric cancer. Palliative care is an especially important adjunct to our recurrent cancer program, in which we provide novel, cutting-edge treatment strategies," Dr. Kirov says. "When cure is not an option, patients continue to receive the best possible palliative care through the end of life." Led by oncology physicians, the interdisciplinary CHOC palliative care team includes oncology nurses, psychologists, social workers, pain specialists, child life specialists and spiritual care.

Featuring large windows, upgraded flooring, fabrics, lighting and furniture, every effort has been taken to ensure comfort and privacy. The Rainbow Room is equipped with a TV/DVD system, Play Station II, music CDs, refrigerator and coffee maker. The room is also stocked with scrapbooking supplies, disposable cameras and a reference library addressing end-of-life issues for patients, siblings and families. A video camera is also available for families to use if desired.

Patients may have unlimited visitors and the emphasis is on family centered care. Shortly after the Rainbow Room opened, a patient celebrated an early Christmas there with her family, complete with carolers, dinner and a small church service led by her pastor.

"The Rainbow Room is a place where families are able to experience being a family again. They can express their religious beliefs, culture and traditions in a way that provides extra care and comfort," says CHOC oncologist Lilibeth Torno, M.D. "We even provide extra beds so the family can sleep over. We are there for every need they may have."


Last summer, CHOC was one of several Orange County hospitals to form the Southern California Chapter of the Children's Hospice and Palliative Care Coalition in order to collaborate on program development and provide professional education about end-of-life issues. In March 2005, CHOC hosted the first Initiative For Pediatric Palliative Care (IPPC) training program, a two-and-a-half day retreat to enhance family centered care for children living with life-threatening conditions.

"All of the hospitals have the same issues regarding end-of-life care because there are no pediatric hospices in the area," says Kathleen Adlard, R.N., oncology clinical nurse specialist who along with fellow oncology nurses Katie Leyva, R.N., and Lili Dubrow, R.N., has played an integral role in developing the palliative care program and Rainbow Room. "We've joined together to share resources and to ultimately provide the best situations for our families."

Approximately 45 CHOC nurses and child life specialists have completed End-Of-Life Nursing Education Consortium (ELNEC) training, and 15 are certified to teach ELNEC curriculum. In November, renowned pediatric palliative care consultant Marcia Levetown, M.D., provided training for CHOC staff and physicians. She continues to consult with the CHOC palliative care staff.


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chocChildren's Hospital of Orange County | UCI University of California, Irvine

Children's Hospital of Orange County is affiliated with UC Irvine Healthcare and UC Irvine School of Medicine

CHOC Children's - 1201 W La Veta Ave, Orange, CA. Phone: 714-997-3000. .