Short film from Latvia reveals the essence of children’s palliative care

Categories: Care, Community Engagement, Education, and Featured.

The Children’s Palliative Care Society in Latvia, in cooperation with the Riga International Women’s Club, have created a short film “To be together” revealing the essence of children’s palliative care. Two families share their positive experiences accessing palliative care and how it has helped to significantly improve their quality of life.

Perception of palliative care

The film aims to change people’s perceptions of palliative care being only about the end of life.  Describing the nature of children’s palliative care, Dr Anda Jansone, Head of the Children’s Palliative Care Team in Latvia, says: “Palliative care is a story about helping to dare to live despite a child’s illness that limits daily life, how to learn to live with it, how to make everyday better. We find other ways to help these children and their families – palliative care aims to help the child use his or her physical abilities as fully as possible to make him feel as good as possible to listen to his wishes and to have the people around him he loves. ”

Improving quality of life

There are about 600 – 700 children with incurable diseases in Latvia with most children suffering from neurological, genetic and oncological diseases. The film shows that even when a child cannot be cured, they can still be helped. Regardless of their state of health, they have similar needs to other children: to grow up in family, to be loved, to play, and to live life to the fullest.

Interdisciplinary team

Palliative care services for children in Latvia are provided by an interdisciplinary team of professionals. Together they care for the emotional, cognitive, physical and social needs of the child and family during the child’s illness, at the end of life, and during the bereavement period for as long as they are needed. Medical services are provided by a doctor and a nurse. Psychological, social and spiritual support services are provided by a psychologist, social worker and chaplain. The chaplain, psychologist and social worker provide support during bereavement,  an essential element of palliative care.

To be together

The title of the short film reflects the essence of children’s palliative care. It shows the courage needed to live in spite of the child’s illness, about the routine of everyday life, so that it is as good and of the highest quality possible. The greatest support for families is the palliative care team which is available to the families 24/7. It is hoped that the film will educate society about palliative care while raising understanding, compassion, and increasing community engagement.

The film is in Latvian with English subtitles. You can learn more about the motivation behind the making of the film here.

Watch the film below.