No parent wants to see his or her child in pain. Our interdisciplinary pain program is one of the largest of its kind in the U.S., combining drug and integrative (nondrug) therapies to ease pain in babies, children and teens. Stefan Friedrichsdorf, MD, the medical director of Children’s Department of Pain Medicine, Palliative Care and Integrative Medicine, tells us more about this unique program and how we’re expanding to care for more children in pain in this week’s Five Question Friday.
How long have you worked at Children’s?
In August 2015, it will be 10 years.
Describe your role.
I work with the groovy and outstanding interdisciplinary team from the department of Pain Medicine, Palliative Care and Integrative Medicine at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics in Minnesota — one of the largest and most comprehensive programs of its kind in the country. The pain and palliative care program is devoted to control acute, chronic/complex and procedural pain in all inpatients and outpatients in close collaboration with all pediatric subspecialties at Children’s. The team also provides holistic, interdisciplinary care for children and teens with life-limiting or terminal diseases and their families. Integrative medicine provides and teaches integrative, nonpharmacological therapies (such as massage, acupuncture/acupressure, biofeedback, aromatherapy, self hypnosis) to provide care that promotes optimal health and supports the highest level of functioning in all individual child’s activities. I see pediatric patients as inpatients, in the interdisciplinary pain clinic, in the palliative care clinic, or in the community/at home.
What are some of the conditions you treat?
We are committed to fulfilling the “Children’s Comfort Promise” — we will do everything possible to prevent and treat pain. This includes managing acute pain (e.g., postoperative, cancer), chronic pain (headaches, functional abdominal pain, fibromyalgia, Complex Regional Pain Syndrome) and/or procedural pain (e.g., needle pain caused by vaccinations, lab draws or intravenous access). In addition, if children have a life-threatening disease, we help to make sure that children can live as long as possible, as well as possible.
Children’s recently celebrated the opening of the Kiran Stordalen and Horst Rechelbacher Pediatric Pain, Palliative and Integrative Medicine Clinic. What are some of the unique features of this new space and how do they benefit our patients?
This spectacular clinic is the first one of its kind in North America providing a “healing environment” specifically designed for children and teenagers. It uses natural materials, such as wood floors and rocks, and eliminates environmental stressors such as noise, glare, lack of privacy and poor air quality. The clinic connects children and their families to nature with views of the outdoors, nature sound, interactive 3-D water elements and natural lighting. The space engenders feelings of peace, hope, reflection and spiritual connection and provides opportunities for relaxation, education, humor and whimsy. The space will contribute to heal patients and their families, who are often at a difficult point in their lives. This holistic space shows a first glance of the future in health care in America.
What’s one interesting fact about you?
I am trained in clinical hypnosis and teach that to children nearly every day. Also, I have worked as a newspaper delivery boy, factory worker, remotely talented actor, assistant nurse, journalist, paramedic, EMT, lifeguard and youth-group leader. I am happily married to Ruth, and we live in Minneapolis with our three young and very active children.