The overarching goal of all of our programs is to keep our patients at home, where they most want to be. Although we primarily care for adult patients, we are one of only two organizations in Georgia who offer a pediatric hospice program.
Caring for pediatric patients is more than double that of adult care. Furthermore, the most costly care we provide is to pediatric patients at end-of-life. The majority of our pediatric patients are covered by Medicaid, which reimburses Visiting Nurse for only a portion of the costs incurred. We consider it our calling and a privilege to care for these patients, and with your support to make up for the shortfall we can continue to help families in need during a very difficult time in their lives.
The children’s hospice program is designed to maintain optimum quality of life for children and adolescents living with terminal illnesses. We embrace the philosophy that hospice care does not mean giving up on life.
To Visiting Nurse, the hospice approach to care is holistic and includes emotional, spiritual and physical care and support. It means helping children continue to live as normal a life as possible, surrounded by their loved ones and favorite things. Hospice care is provided to pediatric patients and their families in the comfort of their homes or, in acute situations, in Hospice Atlanta Center.
We also provide perinatal support to a family expecting a child with a genetic condition that could end his or her life. We meet with the family at some time during the third trimester to discuss neonatal services provided by Hospice Atlanta Center. It is at this time that bereavement support begins as well.
Our specialized pediatric hospice team consists of a physician, registered nurse, social worker, chaplain, volunteers, and bereavement support staff. This interdisciplinary team of experts provides nursing care, pain management, medical equipment and supplies, emotional counseling, pastoral care, family education, and, for two years following the loss of a child, bereavement support.
To further help families heal after the death of a loved one, Visiting Nurse has operated Camp STARS since 1992. A weekend bereavement camp held twice a year, Camp STARS provides a supportive environment for the entire family unit, encouraging participants to share the experience of loss, learn from one another, and take steps toward dealing with grief after the death of a loved one. Held at Camp Twin Lakes in Rutledge, Georgia, costs are covered by donor support but a small registration fee is required.