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Children's hospice

A children's hospice is a hospice specifically designed to help children who will not live to reach adulthood with the emotional and physical challenges they face, and also to provide respite care for their families.

A typical children's hospice service offers:

  • Specialist children's palliative care, respite care, emergency, and terminal care (this may be at the hospice or within the child's home)
  • Bereavement counselling and support, typically offered as individual home support, as well as groups and work with brothers or sisters
  • Information, advice and practical assistance
  • 24 hour telephone support
  • A system of contact or key workers who work with named children and families to ensure support is consistent and continued between visits
  • Physiotherapy and many complementary therapies
  • Music and play therapy
  • Activities for siblings.

Children’s hospice services work with families from all faiths, cultures and ethnic backgrounds and respect the importance of religious customs and cultural needs that are essential to the daily lives of each family. Many have a chaplain who is familiar with a variety of faiths and customs. Each service is typically an independent charity which relies on public support to continue their work.

United Kingdom children's hospices

Helen House in Oxfordshire was the world's first children's hospice.[citation needed] It opened in November 1982. Helen House sprang from a friendship between Sister Frances Dominica and the parents of a seriously ill little girl called Helen, who lived at home with her family but required 24-hour care.[1]

There are now over 40 operational children's hospices open across the UK.[1] Children's hospice services in England receive an average of 5% government funding and rely heavily on public donations.

United States children's hospices

The children's hospice movement is still in a relatively early stage in the United States, where many of the functions of a children's hospice are provided by children's hospitals. In 1983, of the 1,400 hospices in the United States, only four were able to accept children. Key developments since then include:

  • 1996: the Children's Hospice International's (CHI) Founding Director, Ann Armstrong-Daily began collaboration with the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to produce a better solution for families and the Medicaid progam at large.
  • 1999: Congress approves first year CHI PACC appropriation.
  • June 2005: HHS approves CHI's Program for All-Inclusive Care (CHI PACC ) waiver for the state of Florida.
  • September 2005: Former HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson receives CHI's "Mattie Stepanek" Award for his distinguished service on behalf of children's health care.[2]

Through the efforts of CHI, most of the over 3,000 hospices in the U.S. will now consider accepting children. Also, approximately 450 programs have children-specific hospice, palliative, or home care services.[3]


  1. ^ a b History. Helen & Douglas House. Retrieved on 2007-07-08.
  2. ^ Secretary Thompson receives the "Mattie Stepanek Champion Award" from Children's Hospice International for his dedication to helping children in need (pdf). Children's Hospice International (October 13 2005). Retrieved on 2007-07-08.
  3. ^ Who We Are. Children's Hospice International. Retrieved on 2007-07-08.
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Children's_hospice". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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