Palliative care for terminally ill children

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Hessen will offer more help for terminally ill children in the future

For children and adolescents with serious incurable diseases, it is particularly important to receive the best possible support, not only physically but also psychologically. This is where the so-called "palliative medicine" comes in, which is based on a holistic concept in the care of patients with a progressing, serious illness and limited life expectancy. In order to be able to better help young patients and their families in particular, there should be comprehensive care in Hesse in the future, which aims to alleviate complaints as much as possible and improve the quality of life of sick children in the remaining time.

Palliative medicine helps to improve the physical and psychological state of seriously ill patients. It is particularly difficult if medicine can no longer help children and adolescents who suffer from a serious, incurable disease. In these cases, it is particularly important for the young patients and their families to receive support in order to be able to cope with the difficult time as well as possible. Here, the so-called "palliative medicine" offers help, which, in contrast to curative (curative) medicine, is aimed at improving the physical and psychological state of seriously ill patients in the short to medium term. The focus is on relieving symptoms such as pain, shortness of breath, nausea and vomiting, confusion or inner restlessness. Communication with sick or dying patients and their relatives is just as important in this holistic care concept, and the concept also includes treatment measures such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy or surgical medicine.

Hessen offers outpatient palliative care specifically geared towards children and adolescents In order to be able to offer the best possible holistic support to young patients in particular, outpatient palliative care aimed specifically at children and adolescents is planned in future and should be used across the board. "The aim of the SAPV for children and adolescents is to provide the best possible relief from symptoms and improve the quality of life of patients and to support patients and their families at home," explains Michaela Hach, Managing Director of the Hessian Association of Specialized Outpatient Palliative Care ( Association SAPV Hessen eV). Hesse is the first federal state to offer specific palliative care for children and adolescents, for which, according to the association, intensive negotiations with the state health insurance associations were necessary in advance.

Care of terminally ill children and adolescents is very complex An important step, because according to Michaela Hach, the care of terminally ill children and adolescents is much more complex than that of adults, which means that a range of services tailored to the needs of young patients would be required. Young people who are terminally ill are not an isolated case: According to the specialist association, more than 1,500 children, adolescents and young adults in Hesse alone suffer from serious incurable diseases, of which around 300 would need specialized outpatient palliative care because conventional medical care no longer helps can.

Three coverage areas planned According to the association, the implementation of specialized outpatient palliative care is planned in three coverage areas in order to be able to guarantee comprehensive support: The "KinderPalliativTeam Südhessen" with headquarters in Frankfurt, the "Palliative Care Team for Children and Adolescents" in Gießen for the Care in Central Hesse and the "Kinder Palliativ Team Nordhessen" based in Kassel for Northern Hesse. (No)

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Video: Stories from a home for terminally ill children. Kathy Hull

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