A hospice for children
Hospices for children and young people have existed for years in England, Scotland and Germany, and in 2010 the Nordic region’s first hospice for children and young people opened in Sweden. However, up until recently, there were no specialised palliative care centres for children in Denmark.
“It is important to see the person, not only the disease.”
–The Saint Lukas Foundation
Hospitals do not generally provide a welcoming and sympathetic space for families dealing with the terminal illness of a child, nor do they provide a comfortable place for sick children to spend time with their families. To get around this problem, adult hospices have sometimes admitted children. However, this is not enough – sick children and their families need specialised care, attention and surroundings that allow for family life and wellbeing.
In November 2015 the Denmark Programme donated USD 500,000 to make it possible for the Saint Lukas Foundation to open the first children’s hospice in the country. In Lukashuset Children's Hospice an environment which encourages children’s learning and freedom of expression is cultivated. Here they have fun, make friends and play as they and their families come to terms with the illness the child faces. Without this support, families of seriously ill children may experience isolation and fragmentation, since the parents often have to take turns to be in the hospital or at home with their other children.
Children’s hospices provide a space for children with life-threatening or terminal illnesses to get specialised palliative treatment, while being surrounded by their families in a warm and peaceful environment. Unlike adult hospices, the children’s families can actually live with them at the hospice, with a bedroom, a small living room and kitchen for each family, as well as shared spaces where they can meet to discuss and support each other. The Lukashuset Hospice allows whole families to be together, giving them a chance to live as normal a family life as possible.
The Saint Lukas Foundation opened the first hospice for adults in Denmark in 1992. Since then, 17 other hospices have opened across the country, as well as 6 palliative care hospital units and a palliative centre of excellence. There are also 27 outreach palliative teams from hospitals and hospices. The Denmark Programme hopes that by supporting the Lukashuset Children’s Hospice, it will also open the way for more children’s hospices across Denmark to be built.
Source: Oak Foundation Annual Report
Year of publication: 2015