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Pain and Palliative Care

Pediatric Pain Management in Knoxville

Call us at (865) 541-8685 if you interested in learning more about Pain & Palliative Care at East Tennessee Children's Hospital.

Pediatric palliative care is specialized care that aims to relieve suffering, improve quality of life, facilitate informed decision making, and assist in the care coordination of children who have a life-limiting illness. It is care that is appropriate at any age and at any stage of illness, together with therapeutic treatment.

We help patients by:

  • implementing expert pain and symptom management
  • offering integrative treatment modalities such as art, massage, and use of essential oils
  • providing recommendations for management of distressing symptoms associated with life-limiting illnesses
  • supporting and enhancing quality of life through individualized care plans
  • promoting healing and comfort with a child- and family-centered approach

Does My Child Need Palliative Care?

Palliative care is focused on alleviating the more severe symptoms of serious illnesses. There is no one condition that qualifies a patient for palliative care— it is recommended to anyone who could benefit from the treatment.

Your child may benefit from a palliative consult if a medical condition or treatment is causing:

  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Chronic aches and pains
  • Loss of appetite
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Constipation
  • Skin irritation

We want to help children live happier and healthier. Dealing with medical symptoms is tough, which is why pain and palliative care addresses the symptoms of a condition rather than the main issue. While their primary care physician or medical specialist is treating their condition, we will be doing our part to improve their quality of day-to-day life.

Pain & Palliative Care Services

Three illustrated hot air balloons in the clouds

Meet Our Staff

Oliver Hoig M.D. - PPC Medical Director

Oliver Hoig, MD, PPC Medical DirectorDr. Hoig holds a bachelor of music from Westminster Choir College in Princeton, N.J. and a doctor of medicine from the University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha. He completed residencies in pediatrics at Children's Mercy Hospital, Kansas City, Mo., and anesthesiology at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and Children's Memorial Hospital, Omaha.


Dr. Jessica Nicholson - PPC Medical Director

Jessica Nicholson, MD, PPC Medical DirectorDr. Nicholson has a Bachelor of Science degree from Northwestern University in Evanston, IL and received her Medical Degree from Georgetown University School of Medicine in Washington, DC. She completed residency at Children's National Medical Center in Washington, DC and was Pediatric Department Chief at Carillon Clinic in Roanoke, VA.

Dr. Nicholson is incorporating her years of experience as a hospitalist to bring comprehensive care to more bedsides. As a hospitalist, she's always worked with medically complex patients and enjoys looking at the big picture of care while keeping in mind all of the details that go along with complex patients.


Dr. Joni Oberlin

Joni Oberlin, MDDr. Oberlin received her Medical Degree at Kigezi International School of Medicine in Kabale, Uganda. She was a Resident at Grand Rapids Area Medical Education, Grand Rapids, MI.


Dr. Kara Cockrum

Kara Cockrum, DODr. Cockrum received a Bachelor of Science in Sports Medicine at Samford University in Birmingham, AL and obtained her Doctor of Osteopathy degree at West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine in Lewisburg, WV. She was a resident at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, SC. She was most recently Pediatric Chief Resident and Pediatric Hospitalist Attending at the Medical University of South Carolina.


Joni Pappas MA, MT-BC - Music Therapy

Joni Pappas MA, MT-BC Joni Pappas is a board certified music therapist with additional training in neurologic music therapy. She has practiced for 20 years in the areas of early childhood intervention, special education, and geriatrics. Joni received her Bachelor of Arts in Music Education and Vocal Performance from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and her Masters of Music Education with an Equivalency in Music Therapy from the University of Iowa.

Music Therapy with Joni

In addition to her work as a music therapist, Joni also serves as an adjunct faculty member at the University of Tennessee School of Music.


Teresa Combs, CMT - Massage Therapy

Teresa Combs, CMTIn 2002, Teresa became Nationally Certified in Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork in Baltimore, MD. She is board certified in massage therapy and also licensed in the state of Tennessee. She has over 15 years of experience in Therapeutic Massage and is Internationally certified in Pediatric Massage through Liddle Kidz Foundation (TM), including training in NICU, Pediatric Intensive Care, and Oncology.

Massage therapy with Teresa

She considers it a privilege to work with pediatric patients and their families, and she is honored to be Children's Hospital's first massage therapist.


Tammy Childers, MS, APRN, CPNP - Palliative Care Coordinator

Tammy Childers, MS, APRN, CPNP - Palliative Care Coordinator Tammy is a Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner. She received her Bachelor of Nursing Degree from Otterbein College in Westerville Ohio in 1991 and Master’s of Science in Child and Adolescent Health from Wright State University in Dayton Ohio in 2006. She spent her first 23 years in nursing caring for children at Nationwide Children’s Hospital where she pursued a calling to serve children with medical complexity, their families and health care teams as a Nurse Practitioner with the Complex Health Care Program.

Care Coordination PPC Consult with Tammy Childers Tammy joined the ETCH team in 2013 and has been privileged to participate in the care of medically complex patients most recently as Patient Navigator with the Care Coordination team. She is honored to continue her passion to serve this special pediatric population as a member of the Pain and Palliative Care Program.


Photos and Videos


A Community Effort

To provide the children of our Eastern Tennessee with the best care possible, we need to come together as a community. Thanks to generous donations from local institutions and the contributions of our dedicated volunteers, we continue to improve the lives of our patients every day.

Your donations help support the Pain and Palliative Care program at East Tennessee Children's Hospital. To make a donation to the program, please visit our donation page and choose Pain and Palliative Care from the designation menu.

The Pediatric Pain and Palliative Care program at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital is sponsored by The Butterfly Fund at the East Tennessee Foundation and by Ronald McDonald House Charities of Knoxville.

Call us at (865) 541-8685 if you interested in learning more about Pain & Palliative Care at East Tennessee Children's Hospital.