Associate Professor Kimberley Widger, a leading researcher in pediatric palliative care, has been named a 2023 fellow of the American Academy of Nursing, an organization that services to advance health policy and practice, through the recognition of outstanding contributions to nursing knowledge.
Of the over 250 new fellows hailing from 13 different countries, Widger is being recognized for the impact she has had in addressing the need for good palliative care for sick children both in Canada and internationally.
Widger, who also holds the Canada Research Chair in Pediatric Palliative Care, and is a Nursing Research Associate with the Pediatric Advanced Care Team (PACT) at Sick Kids Hospital and Adjunct Scientist and ICES , was the first to determine the number of children eligible for pediatric palliative care in Canada versus the number receiving it. Currently, she is leading an international team of 23 researchers representing nine countries that will identify the most important indicators to use in assessing the quality of pediatric palliative care.
“My life-long vision is to ensure that any child diagnosed with a life-threatening condition will receive optimal pediatric palliative care, in their location of choice, regardless of whether they survive or die from their condition,” says Widger.
Widger notes that world-wide, there is a rising prevalence of life-threatening illnesses among children, and the need for an integration of PPC into the routine care of all children diagnosed with a life-threatening condition instead of only for those at end of life, is becoming a standard of practice, thanks in large part to the work of researchers like her.
Widger has led the validation of assessment tools for quality PPC from the parent’s perspective, which continue to be used routinely in two hospitals to improve care. On a national level, Widger has helped to advance an expansion of PPC services and has provided guidance on policies related to access of care services.
“Good pediatric palliative care is also family centered, meaning it supports not only the child but the family as well,” says Widger. “My hope is that my work will continue to have a positive impact on families during a really challenging time in their lives, and I’m grateful to the American Academy of Nursing for this profound recognition.”
Widger will be recognized formally in a special ceremony on October 7, 2023 in Washington, DC.