The Children’s Hospital of Illinois (CHOI) is pleased to announce that Billie Winegard, MD, MPH, has joined the Pediatric Supportive Care team as the Medical Director. Dr. Winegard earned her medical degree from the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix. She completed her pediatric residency at Phoenix Children’s Hospital and fellowship in Pediatric Hospice and Palliative Medicine at Nemours/AI Dupont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, Delaware.
Pediatric Supportive Care services originated at CHOI in early 2011 with the formation of a counseling support team designed to help patients and families manage the stressful and challenging impact of confronting chronic and life-limiting conditions. The counseling team, the only one of its kind made up of specially trained Thanatologists, provides support through individual, couples and group counseling. Support is available to all members of the family, ranging from intensive parenting support to sibling and grandparenting coping assistance. Additionally, the team provides extensive bereavement support when families are faced with the death of a child. Families can find groups for in-hospital support, pregnancy loss, those designed around the needs of bereaved parents, and even a group to assist hospital staff in coping with the losses they encounter in their daily work. More than 1400 referrals have been made to the program since its inception. The addition of Dr. Winegard will allow the team to address all aspects of palliative care for children. Dr. Winegard is available to assist families with care discussions, short and long-term goal setting, pain and symptom management, advanced care planning, and communication with the health care team. Referrals to the team are made when a child is hospitalized and if the child meets established diagnostic criteria from the Center to Advance Palliative Care (CAPC). The team also provides services to families seen in the Maternal/Fetal Care Center who anticipate a poor pregnancy outcome or are experiencing perinatal loss.
Children’s Hospital of Illinois is the third largest pediatric hospital in Illinois and the only full service tertiary hospital for children downstate. With 136 beds and more than 115 pediatric subspecialists, Children’s Hospital cares for more children in Illinois than any hospital outside of Chicago. Formally established as a pediatric hospital within the walls of OSF Saint Francis Medical Center in 1990, Children’s Hospital has over 7,000 admissions, 2,500 newborn deliveries, and 18,000 emergency department visits each year.
Written by Laura Sollenberger, Counseling Supervisor, Pediatric Supportive Care at OSF HealthCare