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Infant Hospice Care Tapped by 7 Counties

Infant Hospice Care Tapped by 7 Counties

In a recent development in the area of medical care facilities hospice programs which are specifically designed to cater to senior citizens are now extending their support and services to the other end of the age spectrum, i.e. infants.

A small hospice care group has started to provide services to children who are born with abnormal physical conditions due to which chances of survival for them are remote.

Diana Rodriguez, mother of a five-month old daughter suffering from a chromosomal disorder, says that she had no idea of how would the care givers help her. Angelica, her five month old daughter is suffering from a disease called Trisomy 22, wherein the arteries and veins decrease function making the heart work extra. This means that each morning, waking up of the baby is actually a blessing to her parents.

Hospice care facilities, like other home-health care agencies, provide equipped and trained nursing care which helps the patients to stay at home rather than a hospital or similar facility.

However, hospice care surpasses many steps- they also extend the spiritual and emotional support that is required by the family members in such heart-rending situations.

Even until three years back, there very limited number of hospice care units used to accept infant patients. This was because traditionally hospice care has been limited to patients who have less than six months of life. Medical Care aimed at cure, would have to be foregone by the patients and their families. It is also to be agreed that if the patients stopped to respiration or their heart beat stopped, no attempts to keep them alive through Machines would be made. Where it is something acceptable in case of a patient who has lived a long life, the same thing becomes very unbearable and unacceptable in case of a small child who has still not understood the meaning of life.

Ann Armstrong Dailey, founder director and CEO of Children's Hospice International is of the idea that parents look at this as “giving up”. In very rare cases they agree to stop curative treatment, even if there is hardly any chance and pediatricians too discourage it.

Florida became the first state of the nation, in 2005, to apply for Medicaid coverage to extend benefit for families of children with fatal diseases, of the essential features of hospice care, the in-house nursing care along with emotional and spiritual care, along with the search of a better for the child.

The program, which has completed three years of operation, had started off with seven Florida counties, is aiming to spread to the eighth.

Armstrong Dailey says that this will not only assist people emotionally but also take care of their tax exemptions. This will happen because most people will prefer in-home care instead of institutional care which is more expensive. Moreover, since children under this program very regularly, requirement of taking them to an emergency room would be very less; this is a very costly proposition.

Over 900 children have already been enrolled into the program already and a survey also says the general level of satisfaction is very high.

However, some counties like those in Central Florida have not yet participated. This is because of certain complicated issues which need to be addressed before expanding the program statewide or for that matter nationwide. Apart from the emotional seriousness with which such cases need to be handled, there are few equipments and training related issues, which are of concern. Moreover, in cases of babies, medical supplies required can be minute quantity, and medications need to be adjusted according to their weight, deciding which is quite technical in nature.


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