Pediatric Palliative Care
The special considerations of palliative and hospice care for dying children are unique. Sadly the need for such care is not rare. In the US alone more than 50,000 children become terminally ill every year, whether from disease or congenital condition.
Yet many hospitals lack the specially trained staff that are needed, and this is a gap that the Foundation seeks to fill.
The Foundation made a grant of $10,000 to Hospice of Michigan's Pediatric Early Care program to start a "Quality of Life" fund for east Michigan, an area that, in addition to East Lansing, includes the population centers of Detroit, Ann Arbor, Port Huron and Saginaw.
Their Pediatric Early Care program fills the gaps of many hospital based programs and provides much needed home care as well as support for bereaved families. The fund, designed to help families in need, matches a similar fund already established for west Michigan.
One obstacle to the best treatment for children with life limiting illness is the choice that some insurers force between palliative and curative treatment. In other words if the insurer pays for curative treatment, it will not pay for hospice. This is of particular concern with pediatric hospice, when however dire the prognosis it is wrong to abandon all hope.
While this is recognized in the Affordable Care Act, which now prohibits any such discrimination in Medicaid and other government funded services, many insurance companies follow the old policy.
This can be justification for individual grants by the Foundation to families wanting curative treatment but unable to afford hospice care at the same time.