This Friday, the 8th October we will be putting our hats and masks on to raise awareness of the need for children’s palliative care globally. The annual ‘Hats (and masks) on for Children’s Palliative Care’ Day #HatsOn4CPC is now in its 8th year, and has been growing in impact each year.
#HatsOn4CPC is a day when we all take to social media, flooding it with pictures of individuals, teams, children, schools, wearing hats and also this year masks. As the pandemic is still with us and many of us are wearing masks to go to school, university, work, shopping etc. we are encouraging you to don your hat with your mask. Anyone can join in the fun – just put on your hat and mask, take a photo and upload it to social media using #HatsOn4CPC and tagging ICPCN.
Whilst having fun, the day aims to raise international awareness of the work of children’s palliative care services worldwide and the need to ensure that this specialist care is available to every child, no matter where they live. Of the estimated 21m life-limited and life-threatened children worldwide whom it is believed would benefit from good palliative care, our research suggests that less than 5% actually have access to such support – this is a shocking statistic showing that many millions of children and young people are dying in unnecessary pain with their families forced to cope without the emotional and practical support that would make the appalling time more bearable. However, we know the difference that good palliative care can make to the lives of children and young people, and their families. Nonetheless there is so much more work to be done both to facilitate provision in countries where there is none, and to support countries with some evidence of capacity building or local provision to build on those shoots of growth.
In line with the theme for this years World Hospice and Palliative Care Day, being celebrated on Saturday 9th October – Leave no-one behind: Equity in access to palliative care, we want to make sure that no child or their family are ‘left behind’ regardless of where they live, and that if they need access to palliative care they can get it. More information, graphics and key messages can be found on our website. Key messages for #HatsOn4CPC include:
- Millions of seriously ill children suffer from pain and other distressing symptoms which could be controlled and significantly improved with palliative care. We are making a stand and have signed up to #HatsOn4CPC on 8 October
- Every child that needs it deserves palliative care. Very few countries have the capacity to provide it, particularly low- and middle-income ones. There are still many countries with no children’s palliative care. This is not right! Help change this with us #HatsOn4CPC on 8 October
- Today I wear my hat and mask in honour of children with life-limiting conditions and stand with many across the globe to call for more training and greater access to children’s palliative care services. #HatsOn4CPC
Together we can work to ensure all children have access to the palliative care they need, so the child’s pain and symptoms are relieved, and they are helped to enjoy the best possible quality of life, for however long or short a time that may be. This specialised care is delivered by a dedicated team of people, many of whom wear diverse and many different hats. So, join us on #HatOn4CPC on 8 October
Prof Julia Downing
- ICPCN – Chief Executive