The 7-Minute Scoop - Is there Hospice For Kids??
Updated: May 23
Living With Hospice is launching a new bonus feature for our listeners! Mitch will be answering listener's questions in special mini-episodes entitled "The 7 Minute Scoop." In our inaugural 7-Minute Scoop, Mitch answers the often asked question, 'Is there Hospice for kids??' And he ends the episode with a touching community story!
7 Minutes, and you have the whole scoop!
" You know ,we love our Children more than anything else in this world. And the thought of losing them well, that's just more than we can bear. Most of us won't even let our minds go to that place. "
Hello, my name is Mitch Ware and this is the Seven Minute Scoop. We're trying something new here at Living With Hospice. As a bonus for our listeners, we are answering some of the easier questions with the quicker answer type questions in a single short episode. And we're calling that the Seven Minute Scoop. This is the first of what we hope will be many of the Seven Minute Scoops. And with this one, we're going to address a question we hear quite often. Is there hospice just for kids.
As far as I can find. There are only a handful of dedicated pediatric hospices in the whole US. And most all hospice organizations do not take minor children. They refer them back to their primary doctors or clinics for treatment. So why is that? Well, as far as I can tell, there are two main reasons why we don't see More programs dedicated to pediatric hospice care.
The first is, well, there just really isn't a need, like there is for adults. And secondly, it is extremely expensive. So first things first, why isn't there a need? I mean, kids are dying all over this country from Terminal diseases every single day. So where is hospice and all of this?
Okay, you know, most people, probably safe to say 99.999 whatever percent of people want their children to stay in curative care. Why is that? Think about it. Nobody wants to stop trying to cure their children. If there is any chance at all, no matter how remote people opt for curative care. You know, we love our children more than anything else in this world and the thought of losing them. Well, best just more than we can bear. Most of us won't even let our minds go to that place. What's that Saying, we should not have to bury our children? It should always be the other way around. we as parents will mortgage the house or sell everything we have will will move any mountain to protect our kids. And I get that. So that's why parents really don't opt for hospice, even when their children are terminally ill and the doctors say there's really nothing else we can do.
The second reason evolves around the immense cost associated with pediatric care. Most children who are entering an end of life situation come into it with many other underlying health reasons. Many of these require expensive special equipment, and usually specialized nursing care. If you recall from our episode number two, What is Hospice Care? Their primary philosophy of hospice care is to provide optimal comfort for each patient. Hospice provides all the necessary equipment, all the necessary medicines, all the necessary nursing. And in these cases with pediatric medicine, that means providing and maintaining the additional needed equipment, the additional medicines and the additional nursing attention. That is a credible burden and an incredible expense. Check this out. Adult Hospice is only 20% of the cost of adult curative care. So mom or dad or grandma or grandpa who are in hospital, they have X amount of dollars that's costing when they move into hospice care, those costs are reduced by 80% on the average, but with children, hospice care can be as much as curative care, and in some cases, even more so. The two reasons that we don't see more pediatric hospice programs is a lack of patients and hospice organizations just cannot afford the huge additional expense of acquiring and maintaining needed equipment as well as provide special nursing.
Now, let's quickly look at what is available for kids. We are super blessed to have a world class Children's Hospital here in Grand Rapids. It's called the device Children's Hospital. kids and families come here from all over the world. At device the entire staff is in a palliative care mode pretty much 100% of the time. That means they're looking for optimum comfort for every kid every day. Remember from Episode Two of Living With Hospice, that palliative care can coexist with curative care. That is to say that the staff is much much more engaged with kids in doing comfort care than their counterparts across the street at the regular adult hospital. The kids are not only getting the treatment they need but are also engaged in fun activities which are scheduled all throughout the day. Just for kids. They have outside entertainers come in. Even the window washer dresses up like Spider Man sometimes.
My guess is at least in part that that's the way most Children's hospitals are at least in spirit, and they really love and take super attentive care of the little ones. Let me leave you with an interesting fact. Here in Grand Rapids, a group of first responders come down to Devos Children's Hospital twice a month on Friday nights, and they park their vehicles in a semicircle and that huge parking lot by the Children's Hospital there. And then they turn on every single light they have, you know, it's red and blue and green and yellow and white, all flashing like crazy. And it's gotten so popular the public has joined in. People bring their flashlights and glow sticks and lanterns and most anything that puts off light. The kids love it. They can't wait for Friday night. To roll around, and the kids up inside device will make their way to the windows. Most of their wheelchairs are with walkers, and they wave flashlights of their own back down to the people on the streets. strangers, taking time to share love with strangers, just as God intended.
You can check out all of our podcast episodes at www.livingwithhospice.info, or wherever you get your podcasts now, including YouTube, I'm told and feel free to leave some feedback. We appreciate a good thumbs up as well as your comments. Or if you're more inclined, you can email us at email@example.com. Thanks for listening for Living With Hospice. This is Mitch Ware and that's the Seven Minute Scoop