UK charity opens Romania’s first children’s hospice

Categories: Care and Featured.

Miruna and Sister St John the Baptist

UK-based charity Hospices of Hope has opened Romania’s first children’s hospice near the capital city of Bucharest.

Copaceni will offer respite and therapy services to children with life-threatening and terminal illnesses, situated in buildings donated to Hospices of Hope by the Florescu family.

The new state-of-the-art centre will provide a 12-bed respite care unit, an assessment unit, a sensory room and therapy treatments area to include physiotherapy, psychological and counselling services. It will also serve as an education and training centre for medical professionals. Copaceni will also offer temporary emergency accommodation for families facing homelessness, a common situation with children requiring constant care.

Copaceni is already used as a base for the charity’s summer trips for children, which are run by volunteers from the UK and US. In the coming years, approximately 300 children will enjoy a week’s relaxation at the summer camps. When the centre becomes fully operational, it will provide 200 respite stays and 2,000 outpatient and therapy sessions per year.

The opening ceremony was attended by the Romanian Ambassador to Britain, Dan Mihalache, and the ribbon was cut by one of the charity’s child patients, Miruna, along with Sister St John the Baptist, the sole surviving member of the Florescu family, who donated their family estate. She remembers playing in its grounds as a child before the property was confiscated by the communist regime.

Hospices of Hope’s Executive Director, Alex Padureanu, commented on the opening:

“The need for the services offered by our new centre is immense. We estimate that there are more than 50,000 children in Romania living with rare or life-limiting illness, 5,000 in the Bucharest area alone. On a daily basis, I see children whose lives could be transformed with proper care but who receive little or no help at present. Their families struggle to cope with care and housing issues.

Our new centre will help children like Miruna. She has had 20 operations in her short life – after one operation she had to spend almost a year in bed.

“The hospice helps her recover from her operations, through respite care, therapy and ensuring she keeps up to date with her studies. She loves our summer trips at Copaceni and seeing her dancing and smiling with the other children at camp is very special. There are literally thousands of children like her we can help.”

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Hospices of Hope’s founder, Graham Perolls, CMG, OBE said:

“I fell in love with the Manor at Adunatii Copaceni the first time I saw it. As I drove up towards it, through fields full of wild flowers, I could almost visualise our child patients sitting outside, enjoying the beautiful nature all around. I could hardly believe that the Florescu family were offering to give their former summer residence to our charity to help sick and vulnerable children.

“Six years later, the Manor House has been restored to its former glory and is now ready to receive children and families that have been affected by life-limiting illnesses and need the special care that this centre offers.”

For more information visit Hospices of Hope