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Children's Hospices At A Glance

Childrens Hospices

When people imagine a hospice, they generally conjure images of elderly patients suffering from terminal diseases. However, the elderly are not the only people who are at risk for terminal illnesses, and therefore, are not the only patients who can be found at hospices. Thousands of children throughout the United States suffer from terminal illnesses.

In order to address the care and comfort of these children, children's hospices have been established. Children's hospices specifically cater to the needs of children that are facing death in the coming months. They also offer respite care and grief counseling in order to assist families. The children found in children's hospices are suffering from incurable diseases, such as cystic fibrosis or cancer, including leukemia, brain cancer, and osteosarcoma.

These patients have not responded to treatments, and further attempts at treatment would only increase pain and prolong suffering, not cure the illness. Once a child is diagnosed with a terminal illness, it is common for families to consider children's hospices, where the patients will have access to continuous medical attention and beneficial hospice programs.

When a child is diagnosed with a terminal illness it is often devastating for a family. The family may attempt to provide care for the child at home. However, this can require constant attention and care twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. This is physically, emotionally, and financially exhausting for a family. The responsibility of caring for a sick child may cause extensive stress and anxiety, creating yet new tensions within the family.

In order to decrease the discord present in the child's environment, a family may decide to consider hospice programs. Like at a hospice facilities for adults, the responsibility of addressing the care and comfort of patients in children's hospices will fall to medical professionals. Doctors and nurses will administer medication to reduce pain, constantly monitor a child's condition, and ensure that a patient remains comfortable.

At a hospice, a child will have access to emotionally beneficial hospice programs, such as play therapy, music therapy, and art therapy. There are also hospice programs that arrange activities between siblings so that they are able to spend quality time together.

Hospice programs provide terminally ill children with beneficial services, especially children too young to understand the concepts of life and death. They may question what they did wrong to deserve their fate. Placing them in a hospice will allow them to communicate with other children who are experiencing similar situations.

This may help to negate the sense of isolation and seclusion that is often faced by terminally ill children. Because hospice doctors and nurses assume the responsibility of caring for patients, families will have the opportunity to spend quality time with a child without having to maintain the role of caregivers. This will provide them with the opportunity to simply enjoy the time that they have left with their child.

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