Tuesday, February 16, 2021

What Help Is Available to Children in Hospice?

The scariest thing for most parents is to imagine their child in hospice.  There are so many unknowns, with answers that you find online seeming vague or noncommittal.  Parents want to ensure that their children are well taken care of and given the support they need.  Luckily, hospice can grant a lot of these wishes.

Here are the top things children’s hospice can offer and how to ask for them.

Community For The Children
Having to be in hospice can make most patients feel lonely or uncomfortable.  The best way to ease this is to build a sense of community.  Most hospice care facilities offer communal spaces and areas where young patients can enjoy other children's company and get to feel a sense of normalcy.  This sensation can be hard to come by for children with severe illnesses and disabilities, so any ounce of normalcy can mean the world.  Those caring for the children help build up this feeling of togetherness and let the kids relax.

Around-The-Clock Care

Although many families try to take on the care for fatally ill children on their own, they often find themselves at a loss for what to do and when.  We can go into this with the best intentions, but unfortunately, those intentions can't mean everything turns out according to plan.  Instead of putting the stress of remembering medication, timing appointments, figuring out sleep schedules and diet while also having a life of their own, family members can let professionals swoop in.  This plan doesn't mean that the family doesn't get to participate in the care; it's encouraged that they do. It just means that hospice professionals can make that gesture easier.

Peace of Mind for Parents
Parents of sick children want to do the best for their kids.  Any slight mistake or misstep can set a child back or leave them in pain- taking that pressure off of the parents’ minds is the best way to ensure they get to enjoy these precious days with their child.  It can be scary and traumatic to go through, but these hospice centers often also offer support for family members to learn how to cope and grow through this.  There's rarely a happy ending to these stories, so everyone involved in the family must get to heal.

Great Days
Children in hospice don't want to sit around and cry and be scared; they want to live how children usually do.  Most would rather spend their short and precious time getting to have fun and live.  Hospice allows them to have fun, interact with professionals and kids alike, and have more happy days than you would expect. Of course, no one lies to these kids or promises them anything that can't be kept, but they must be treated with the kindness and dignity that everyone deserves.  Kids need more than just medicine and schedules; they need to know they're loved and cherished and that the impact they make on the world is good.

This is a guest blog entry.

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