Cardiovascular and critical care

Workshop Dates

TOPIC 2019-20 Academic Year: Discussions at End of Life

Tuesday, October 8, 2019, 8:30 am - 3:00 pm

Tuesday, December 17, 2019, 8:30 am - 3:00 pm

Spring 2020 TBA

Spring 2020 TBA

If none of these dates work for you, and you would like to be notified the next time that this workshop is offered, please let us know by completing this Inquiry Form.


Employees of Boston Children’s Hospital: Complimentary

Non-affiliates: $295

Continuing Education

CNE and Social Work credits are available.


TOPIC 2019-20 Academic Year

Discussions at End of Life

End of life conversations with parents of a critically ill child are some of the most emotionally painful conversations for anyone involved. Learn how you and your team can communicate with families even more compassionately, following ethical best practices. Gain the skills to support them--and manage your own distress--when discussing brain death, circulatory death, and choices about removal of life support and organ donation.


Program to Enhance Relational and Communication Skills (PERCS): Cardiovascular and Critical Care is the original course developed by the Institute. Each day-long workshop offers interdisciplinary participants the opportunity to learn about powerful communication skills and relational abilities when having difficult conversations in the pediatric and cardiovascular critical care units.

Each workshop offers didactic presentations, realistic enactments with professional actors, videotape feedback and debriefing, and group discussion. Each workshop emphasizes the importance of the patient and family perspectives through the use of videotaped family interviews and actors as patient and parent ethical understudies. Participants are encouraged to reflect on their personal and professional experience, and how that can influence their approach to difficult conversations with patients and families.

Participant Reviews

"I will check my emotions and recognize them. Know that it is okay to be human, to be present; and that silence and listening is okay and appropriate.”

This workshop is part of a series offered on a three-year rotating curriculum basis

(1) Pediatric End of Life (Current rotation offered in the 2019-20 academic year)

(2) Children with Special Healthcare Needs

(3) Communicating about Adverse Events within a Culture of Safety

-Note: Each workshop topic can be taken independently of the others.

Who Should Attend

Interdisciplinary participants who work in the neonatal intensive care setting at any level of experience are welcome to enroll including but not limited to:

  • Physicians
  • Nurses
  • Social workers
  • Psychologists
  • Chaplains
  • Medical Interpreters
  • Administrators

Workshop enrollment size: 15-25 participants

Traveling from out of town? Take a look at our Boston Accommodations and Attractions page for some local recommendations!


Robert Graham, MD

Associate in Critical Care Medicine
Associate Professor, Harvard Medical School

Pamela Varrin, PhD

Psychosocial Faculty
Family Faculty

Suzanne Morse-Fortier, LICSW

Family Faculty
Faculty Associate