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Dr. Elissa Miller Appointed Director of Thomas P. Ferry Palliative Care Program
New Palliative Care Program at duPont Hospital for Children
Elissa Miller, MD
Wilmington, DE — Elissa Miller, MD, has joined Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children as director of the new Thomas P. Ferry Palliative Care Program. Dr. Miller recently completed fellowship training in pediatric hospice and palliative care medicine at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, one of only four such fellowship programs in the U.S. She is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. Dr. Miller served her residency in pediatrics at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, where in 2009 she was named resident clinician of the year. She is board certified in pediatrics.
The goal of palliative care is to provide physical, emotional and spiritual support for seriously ill children and their families, to enhance quality of life and minimize suffering. Under Dr. Miller’s direction, the program offers an organized method for delivering curative or life-prolonging care as well as compassionate therapies intended to comfort and support the child and the significant people in the child’s life. The program is family-centered and coordinates care and services in the hospital, at home and in the community.
The new program is named for former CEO Tom Ferry, whose guidance was instrumental in formalizing palliative care at the hospital. In addition to Dr. Miller, dedicated social work, advanced practice nursing and administrative staff support the program.
During residency training, Dr. Miller said she recognized a special ability in herself to comfort and talk to critically ill children and their families, especially those in the final stages of life. She began to train and teach colleagues and became more passionate about palliative care as a career. “I don’t see the end of life as a failure of medicine,” she said. “But when doctors do not treat the pain and manage the symptoms of end-stage disease to the best of their ability, they fail the patient.”
“Pediatric palliative care was not common just five years ago,” Dr. Miller continued, noting that although more children's hospitals are now recognizing its value and starting programs, there remains a shortage of care. “The majority of children living with end-stage conditions still do not have access to therapeutic approaches that could improve their comfort and quality of life, as well as offer pain relief.” Dr. Miller is eager and proud to bring this important program to Nemours.