The video, shown on the BBC News channel, tells the story of the hospice that Lyn Gould, co-founder and CEO of Butterfly Children’s Hospice in Torquay opened in the city of Changsha in China, where palliative care for children with life-limiting conditions is not yet understood.
In the clip Lyn says:
“Adult care is blossoming, but care for children is basically non-existent.”
“When you talk about palliative care people immediately think you are giving up, whereas actually you are adding quality, and adding life to the days the child might have left.”
It is estimated that in China 4.5 million children need palliative care, but only a fraction of them have access to it. Lyn explains how parents abandon their children at the gates of orphanages once they believe there is nothing else they can do to care for them.
The hospice cares for the children who have been left at local orphanages and who have less than six months to live.
“What is relatively easy to deal with are the physical symptoms. What is more difficult to deal with are the effects of their abandonment.”
“We have to work very hard to teach the staff the importance of touch, speaking gently, and cuddles, so we can start to give the child the will to live and the will to eat. Even if they cannot live a long time they will know that they were loved, that they were worthy of somebody loving them.”
Since the hospice was founded in 2010, 32 children in its care have gone on to be adopted, mostly by families in the US and Europe.
Butterfly Children’s Hospice chairman Patrick Beasley is a former trustee of Hospice UK.
To watch the video visit BBC News: Caring for dying children in China
For more information visit Butterfly Children’s Hospice