“One day they will help others who have great needs with similar gifts and the chain of caring and friendship will continue.”Emily Vargas-Barón. Director of RISE Institute
- This article was written on the 198th day of Russian invasion of Ukraine.
- Children in Ukraine continue to die at the hands of aggressive adults.
- How does one paediatric palliative care center in the front-line Kharkov work?
From the moment when Russian bombers stopped flying into the city, the city began to resume its activities as much as possible. And the Regional Clinical Centre for Medical Rehabilitation and Palliative Care for Children “Hippocrates” was no exception. In March, it was possible to evacuate some children with incurable diseases and their parents to Germany. The main staff of the Centre also left. And in April, the Centre began accepting children for services for the first time. At first, only two specialists worked – a physical therapist and a speech therapeutist. Local municipal residents who moved to the Centre because of the bombings performed volunteer functions of cooking, cleaning, watchmen, and janitors. Over time, the number of professionals providing services has expanded. Now there is one paediatrician with an interest in paediatric palliative care, 1 rehabilitative doctor, 2 nurses, 2 physical therapists, 1 ergotherapist, and 3 speech therapeutists. The list of services is gradually expanding: physical and occupational therapy, hydrokinesitherapy, and sensory integration therapy. Paediatric psychologists provide online counseling. The Church of St. Gabriel is functioning. However, not all families have the opportunity to get to the Centre.
In a humanitarian crisis, these services are scarce. One day they will help others who have great needs with similar gifts and the chain of caring and friendship will continue. Another important development in the field of paediatric palliative care that is happening at this point in time is the creation of coordination and mapping of paediatric palliative care services throughout Ukraine with the support of international partners colleagues from St. Jude’s Clinic, ICPCN, and our Consultant Joan Marston. Participation in this intention of the medical community, NGOs, and academic staff provides an opportunity to think (dream) about a better future, support all those in need of pediatric palliative care, and as a final result, introduce continuous learning in the country. Let’s think about a peaceful future together! Let’s create new conceptual approaches to provide pediatric palliative care in Ukraine! All this, together with some of the successes of our heroic soldiers and the support of civilized countries, is inspiring. We are not alone. #StopWarinUkraine