Heather Bemis

Heather Bemis

Psychologist
Children's Hospital Los Angeles

Bright IDEAS for Pediatric Palliative Care (PPC): A Problem Solving Skills Intervention to Empower Parent Resilience

A central goal of PPC is to support parents and caregivers coping with a child’s serious illness. Research suggests over two-thirds of parents in PPC experience significant psychological distress, which is exacerbated by socioeconomic disparities and impeded access to care. More psychological resources are needed that help respond to these acute needs, fit PPC goals, and work effectively for multidisciplinary teams, but few have been tailored or tested for specialty PPC. My project will apply an evidence-based parent problem-solving skills intervention (Bright IDEAS) to alleviate caregiver distress in PPC. I will test, train, and embed Bright IDEAS in PPC service using a mixed-methods, team-science approach. Parents’ and providers’ experiences will be central in evaluating impact and developing novel applications within transdisciplinary care. Disseminated to address unique needs of PPC families and teams, this intervention will equip PPC with an innovative resource to enhance effective, empowering support for caregivers and make our care more responsive to the most vulnerable families we serve.

“My goal as a clinician and leader is to make palliative care more accessible and responsive to the complex supportive needs of diverse families and teams. As a leader in the nascent specialty of Pediatric Palliative Care Psychology, I hope to foster innovations in evidence-based clinical practice, research, and education that empower resilience and expand palliative care’s reach and visibility. With the support of the Sojourns Scholar Leadership Program, I would be uniquely positioned to pursue these goals and successfully shape the field’s advancement of collaborative care.”