When your child is facing a life-limiting illness, your entire family is immediately thrown into a completely overwhelming situation. It can be difficult to find the best care and support for everyone involved, but connecting with a pediatric hospice care provider can be a good place to start. Pediatric hospice care provides children who are facing an illness with individualized care to address their physical, emotional, and spiritual needs and make them as comfortable as possible during this stage of life. It also provides caregivers with much-needed support as they manage their child’s illness and continue to maintain their everyday routines. Here are several benefits your family may experience as a result of hospice care.
A pediatric hospice care team’s primary goal is to make children and their families comfortable. To do this, the team spends time learning their goals, values and wishes, then helps the family make decisions in line with this information when emotions and stress are running high. The hospice team can also help the child and their siblings, friends and other loved ones better understand the illness in an age-appropriate way or provide necessary information to teachers and classmates. In some instances, they may also act as mediators between family members who might disagree on a course of action, helping to alleviate stress during an emotional time and ensuring that the child’s needs are always met.
One of the main benefits of pediatric hospice care is help managing the many symptoms that may accompany an illness. This can include the use of medications and physical and occupational therapy as well as alternative therapies, such as massages, aromatherapy and meditation. These therapies can be beneficial in managing both physical symptoms and emotional unease. Parents and loved ones may be taught the basics of some therapies when possible to help them connect with their children and provide care when a hospice professional is not available. Through these pain management methods, children can begin to feel more like themselves and continue to play and enjoy hobbies as much as possible.
Learning that one is facing a life-limiting illness can cause children to react in various ways. Some may be frightened and angry, while others may be concerned about their families. Pediatric hospice care provides mental and spiritual counseling for children, helping them process and discuss their feelings in an age-appropriate way that they can easily understand. Children may also participate in art, music and play therapy groups, which allow them to socialize with other children who are going through similar situations and make meaningful connections that help them better understand their situation.
Pediatric hospice care extends to the families and loved ones of the child as well. The child’s hospice care team can connect loved ones with mental health and spiritual counseling services, answer questions about the child’s illness, and relay important information about the family’s wishes to other medical professionals providing care. This helps alleviate some of the strain that many families feel when their child is diagnosed with a life-limiting illness. A hospice team can also provide respite care for parents who are otherwise the primary caregivers of their child, allowing them to catch up on household chores or rest while their child continues receiving the care they need. Family care can be particularly beneficial for siblings, who may otherwise feel ignored, and provide them with a safe space in which they can discuss their own feelings and needs.
Remaining at Home
Once a family chooses to pursue pediatric hospice care, the child can usually move out of the hospital and back into their home. This allows them to maintain some sense of routine and stay as comfortable as possible while receiving the care they need to retain a high quality of life. It can also help families and loved ones cope with the illness, as they will be able to spend more time with the child than they would if they were constantly required to go to the hospital for visits.
Choosing the Right Pediatric Hospice Care Provider
Speak to KidsCare of the Rockies for more information about pediatric hospice care and how it can benefit your family. The organization provides children facing life-limiting illnesses and their families with a wide range of physical, mental, and spiritual support methods to help them cope with the illness. Its team of physicians, nurses, nursing assistants, clinical social workers, chaplains, and child life specialists can create a customized care plan that gives your family the support it needs to feel secure and comfortable during this difficult time. With the support of a pediatric hospice care team, you child can receive life changing care that helps them retain a high quality of life.