Denmark Considers Building its First Children’s Hospice

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While children’s hospices are a reality in a number of surrounding European countries, such as Germany, Sweden, Holland and England, children who die in Denmark are usually cared for in a hospital setting. Agencies calling for the building of a purpose built children’s hospice estimate that of the 400 children who die each year, the deaths of as many as 300 Danish children can be attributed to incurable diseases.

Lars Engberg, director of an umbrella association for the care of patients, stated that there was clearly a need in this area. He went on to say that it was important to decide upon whether an actual hospice should be built or children’s palliative care teams developed, or a combination of both. He felt that it was something that was needed and the government should undertake the financing of this service.

Hospice Forum Denmark told the paper earlier this month of their desire and enthusiasm for a children’s hospice and that they are currently in the process of identifying the need. “We’ve already held some meetings with people who would like to help establish a children’s hospice and several have indicated various suitable places where the dream could be realized,” said President Tove Videbaek. With 49 privately run children’s hospices, England is among the front runners in the field in Europe.

Liselott Blixt, health spokesman for the Danish People’s Party, stated that Denmark should have a children’s hospice as a good alternative to hospital care. Lisa Timm, from the Palliative Knowledge Centre, which conducts research into palliative care, also felt that there was not sufficient provision of palliative care in Denmark for children as children below 18 years of age are excluded from receiving palliative care in the adult hospices. She describes children as a separate group, with specific needs.

Tove Videbaek envisions a model in which the regions have an operating agreement with a new children’s hospice. “I am sure that our politicians both at Christiansborg and in the regions will be sympathetic to this new initiative where they have proven need and necessity,” she said.

Socialists want “an open debate” on a children’s hospice, while the radicals ‘will not reject the idea’ but would like more information.

You can read the original article, in Danish at:

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