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Palliative and Supportive Care

Providing compassion and support for pediatric patients and their families

Children’s of Alabama‘s Palliative and Supportive Care Team is a specially trained team that provides care for children and their families with serious illnesses. Our team is designed to work with care providers to support patients and their loved ones. We focus and on all levels of suffering including physical, social, emotional, and spiritual.


Our Goals

  • To help patients and families who are facing serious illnesses by using a team approach.
  • To provided support for the family and patient with respect to their wishes and values.
  • To improve the quality of life for both the patient and the family.
  • To assist with end-of-life fears and concerns by providing compassionate care throughout their illness.

Our Vision

All children and their families have access to excellent pediatric palliative care to ensure we are matching clinic care interventions with the goals of the patients and their families.

The Children’s of Alabama Palliative and Supportive Care Team works together with other healthcare providers to promote wellbeing by helping patients and families to:

  • Maintain hope
  • Preserve dignity
  • Ease the burdens of care giving
  • Experience comfort, care, and peace

The Palliative and Supportive Care Team seeks to do this by providing patients and families with:

  • Symptom control
  • Pain management
  • Emotional and spiritual support
  • Clear communication between patient, family, and healthcare providers
  • Assistance with understanding your child’s medical condition and treatment options
  • End-of-life planning
  • Coordination of care between inpatient, outpatient, and home care services
  • Transition to Hospice when appropriate

Where do we go for palliative care? 
Any nursing unit can call for a Palliative Care consult. You will stay with your current doctor and your current unit, and the Palliative and Supportive Care Team will visit you. In some cases, transfer out of the intensive care unit setting may be possible.

How do we get to meet the Palliative and Supportive Care Team?
If you feel that palliative care is something that could help you, your family or your child, simply talk to your nurse or doctor. They will contact the Palliative and Support Care Team.

Creative Arts Therapies in Palliative Care

Creative Arts Therapies are provided to palliative care patients and their caregivers through UAB Arts in Medicine. Using these therapies can make the hospital environment feel more peaceful, comfortable, and compassionate.

Potential Benefits of Art Therapy:

  • Provides a creative outlet for self-expression
  • Helps manage pain
  • Artwork can help tell a patient’s story

Potential Benefits of Music Therapy:

  • Improves vital signs
  • Lessens symptoms of anxiety
  • Creates positive memories during hospitalization

Sunny Speaker Davenport, MT-BC
Sunny Speaker Davenport, MT-BC
Board Certified Music Therapist
UAB Arts in Medicine

Valerie Hanks, ATR
Valerie Hanks, ATR
Registered Art Therapist


Palliative and Supportive Care Team

Susie Buckingham, MD, FAAP 
Assistant Professor, Hospice and Palliative Medicine and Pediatrics 
Medical Director, Palliative & Supportive Care 
Children's of Alabama 

Sam Perna, DO, FAAHPM 
Associate Professor 
UAB Palliative Medicine and Pediatrics 

Ashley C. Nichols, MD, FAAHPM 
Associate Professor 
UAB Palliative Medicine and Pediatrics 

Emily Dodenhoff, MD 
Assistant Professor 
UAB Palliative Medicine and Pediatrics 

Sasha Ramini, CRNP 
Sasha Ramini, CRNP 
UAB Palliative Medicine and Pediatrics 

Tracey White 

Christy Carlson, RN, BSN, CHPPN 
Team Coordinator/Clinician