Alleviating Pain and Suffering in Children Receiving Palliative Care

Last modified by Ann Watkins on 2016/04/07 17:48


  • Kimberly Widger RN, MN, CHPCN(c), University of Toronto
  • Maria Rugg RN, MN, CHPCN(c), Hospital For Sick Children
  • Dr. Maru Barrera PhD. C. Psych, Hospital For Sick Children


The prevention and alleviation of pain in children receiving palliative care is of utmost importance to limit the suffering of seriously-ill children and their families. Furthermore, children with life-limiting or life-threatening illness and their families may experience significant psychosocial or spiritual suffering and strategies to recognize and alleviate this suffering are warranted. Ideally, palliative care should begin with the diagnosis of a life-limiting or life-threatening illness and continue throughout end-of-life and into bereavement. Coordination and collaboration across multidisciplinary teams is needed to appropriately support these children and families and overcome the unique challenges faced by healthcare professionals who care for them.

In response to the tremendous feedback from previous attendees, the CIHR Team in Children’s Pain and its knowledge translation partner, CAPHC, continue their successful pediatric pain series with a webinar focused on alleviation of pain and suffering in palliative care. Join us and our distinguished speakers Dr. Maru Barrera, Maria Rugg, and Kimberley Widger as we explore: pharmacologic, physiologic and psychologic pain management strategies; psychosocial coping strategies; and multi-disciplinary decision-making in palliative care.


Click the following links to view additional resources related to this webinar:

Special thanks to the family of Daniel for the use of his picture and story in this presentation.”

Speaker Bios

Kimberly Widger RN, MN, CHPCN(c), University of Toronto

Kimberley Widger began her PhD studies in September 2006 at the Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing, University of Toronto. Prior to that, Kimberley was as a Clinical Nurse Specialist with the Pediatric Palliative Care Service at the IWK Health Centre and an Adjunct Professor at the Dalhousie University School of Nursing in Halifax, NS. She is a member of the Canadian Nurses Association Hospice Palliative Care Nursing Exam Committee and is on the executive of the Canadian Network of Palliative Care for Children. Kimberley’s doctoral research is a multi-centre study to develop and test an instrument to measure the quality of care provided to dying children and their families from the perspective of bereaved mothers.


Maria Rugg  graduated from the University of Windsor with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing with Honours in 1990. She obtained her Master’s of Nursing Science, Acute Care Nurse Practitioner in Pediatrics from the University of Toronto in 2001. She has also achieved national certification as a Hospice Palliative Care Nurse in Canada (2004,2009). She has worked at the Hospital For Sick Children for the past 20 years and as Advance Practice Nurse for Pediatric Palliative and Bereavement Care Service at The Hospital For Sick Children for the last 16 years. She began work in 1994 as the Palliative Care Coordinator at The Hospital For Sick Children and within this role has lead many initiatives including: end of life care policy development on a national level; bereavement and palliative care standards and palliative care program planning, development and research.

Dr. Maru Barrera PhD. C. Psych, Hospital For Sick Children

Dr. Maru Barrera has been a Paediatric Health Psychologist with research and clinical interests in the field of paediatric cancer for over 10 years. She is an Associate Scientist in the Population Health Sciences Program at The Hospital for Sick Children Research Institute. Along with her clinical and research commitments she holds academic appointments at the University of Toronto at the Associate Professor level in the following departments: Population Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine; Dept. of Human Development and Applied Psychology, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education; and Institute of Medical Sciences. Most of her clinical and research work is conducted in the Haematology/Oncology program at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids).

Created by Doug Maynard on 2011/05/03 18:43