On January 17, the first children’s hospice “Firefly World” was launched in Georgia. The children’s hospice is a family-type facility, which will provide palliative care for children with chronic and incurable illnesses.
The hospice will work in three basic directions: 24-hour service for simultaneously 10 children and their parents; daytime center, where children and their parents will stay from morning to evening to receive necessary services; home care service, which exists for already one year and which provides services to 26 children, will continue to operate.
Construction of the children’s hospice was launched in October 2015 upon the initiative of Open Society Georgia Foundation, with the initial funding of Evex Medical Corporation as well as with the support of the President’s fund. Since then, hundreds of donors, among them ordinary citizens and business companies, expressed readiness to support the hospice. Over GEL 1 million was raised during a year to build the hospice. The project of children’s hospice is the best example of cooperation between business companies, non-governmental sector, the President, journalists and citizens.
The Tbilisi Children’s Hospice meets the standards of the world’s best hospices. Besides professional and attentive personnel, the environment, interior, name of the hospice and all those details, which largely determine children’s life in the hospice, are extremely important.
The Tbilisi Children’s Hospice will begin receiving patients from the next week.
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What is Hospice and Palliative Care
The idea of establishing Children’s Hospice has emerged after the survey conducted in 2013, which assessed palliative care needs of children. According to the survey results, annual statistics for children with palliative care need is 839 children from 0 to 18 years old.
Palliative care for children is a care provided to children with incurable and chronic diseases. Palliative care involves the relief of symptoms caused by the disease, as well as provision of psychological and emotional support to children and their families. The need for palliative care arises when dealing with a disease that is resistant to treatment. In children, such diseases may be the last stages of cancer, diabetes, various neurological diseases, severe forms of cerebral palsy and other. Unlike adults, children with need of palliative care require a bit different approach.
The main goal of the hospice is to create a family-type environment. Therefore, in many European countries, hospices are arranged in small, maximum three-story buildings. There are many successful examples of children’s hospices in the world. In this regard, countries with great experiences are the Netherlands, Germany, England, America and Romania. There are hospices, which resemble the house of one of the literary characters or an imaginary universe.
In Georgia, palliative care has been developed and promoted by the Open Society Georgia Foundation since 1999.