Making Room for Young People with Life-Threatening Illness and Grief
A child’s death can be an intensely painful and sad loss for parents, siblings, extended family members, teachers, health care providers and others. One of the features of the new Hospice Peterborough Care Centre we are particularly proud of is a private room large enough to accommodate pediatric palliative care.
Pediatric hospice palliative care is based on the same principles as adult hospice palliative care but also recognizes the unique needs of families faced with a child’s illness and death and grief. Children and young people will receive tailored care to support the emotional and physical challenges they face, while their families also receive respite care and grief support throughout this difficult and very personal journey.
Like adults who benefit from the addition of hospice care beds that will complement existing programs and services, children and young people will also be able to receive around the clock professional care, in a tranquil environment. The Hospice Peterborough Care Centre will be a place where the focus is on compassionate care, not cure, and where it will be fine for children and families to slow the clock, breathe fresh air through the windows and perhaps hear the birds one last time. In a space equally comforting and supportive for family members, everyone can spend the remaining moments focused on life, love and memories.
The new Hospice Peterborough Care Centre will also include expanded areas for family gatherings and grief support programming focusing on teens and children. The loss of a loved one can be overwhelming for a child. Today, Hospice Peterborough offers programming for young people including a Children’s Grief Support Group and a Young Teen Grief Support Group.
The Children’s Grief Support Group is a seven-week program supporting children aged 6 – 12 years. It provides an opportunity for them to explore the meaning of the loss of someone important and to develop ways of coping. Teen Grief Groups are on-line and face-to-face opportunities for those aged 13 – 18 to explore the meaning of the loss of someone important and develop ways of coping. For those children and teens who have already attended a grief group at Hospice Peterborough, we offer a Children’s & Teens Grief Follow-up Group.
Today, art work created by young people participating in Grief Support Groups adorns the walls throughout the current Hospice Peterborough building. Our new Hospice Peterborough Care Centre will feature a dedicated space for young people including a Children’s Art Therapy and Integrated Arts room, equipped with furnishings and facilities to encourage creative expression and healing.
Our Children’s and Teens’ Grief Support Groups are offered by Hospice staff and experienced volunteers and there is no charge for these Hospice services thanks to community funding and support. With this on-going community support and generosity, we will be well-positioned to build upon and expand these existing services to support children and their families in our City and County in the new Hospice Peterborough Care Centre.