Palliative care is a vital resource for individuals living with serious, terminal conditions, such as cancers and advanced heart diseases. It helps ease patients’ symptoms, along with the stress that they and their families experience. Palliative care aims to provide patients and their families with a support network of health professionals who are dedicated to delivering comfort. It can begin as soon as one is diagnosed with a serious illness. It is especially important for children to feel that they are being cared for and loved during their times of stress. The goal of palliative care is to allow a person to live their life to the fullest and lessen the pain that may come with their illness.
In the United States, there is a wide variety of care options available. According to the National Palliative Care Registry, an organization that compiles data on the U.S.’s palliative care programs, 38 hospital-based pediatric palliative care programs participated in the Registry in 2014 and 2015. These programs were located coast to coast, from New York to California. However, not all nations have access to an abundance of pediatric palliative care programs; China only has one palliative care program for children: Angel’s Wings Children, which is located in Beijing.
As mentioned by Zhang Di in his article titled “China’s Palliative Care System Gives Little Comfort to the Dying”, people living in China are not very familiar with the concept of palliative care. Death is a very taboo subject in China, which causes people to rarely speak about it. Many believe that palliative care embraces death, rather than life, and the patient and their family have simply given up if they seek this type of treatment. The truth is that palliative care neither accelerates death nor delays it; it is a delicate balance that emphasizes the patient’s comfort by treating both physical and psychological pain.
When a child is diagnosed with a serious health condition, they and their family can become overwhelmed with stress. In these situations, a third party can help to help alleviate some of the pressure. In addition, making friends can be difficult for a child with a serious condition because they may not normally attend a traditional school setting due to their unique circumstances. This is where palliative care can create a supportive, friendly, and loving environment by introducing the child to others who are going through a similar situation. Here, the child and their family will feel less alone when it comes to their struggles.
Angel’s Wings Children aims to give this kind of support to patients and their families by providing an environment dedicated to care. This organization is located in Beijing and specializes in the care of children. They provide daily activities that allow the children to learn news subjects and topics. In addition, they strive to create a supportive atmosphere and allow the kids to make friends, be happy, and have hope. But since this institution does not have government support, it completely relies on donations, and needs consistent and substantial donations to continue. We have the power to help keep these valuable services alive by informing the public about the importance of this kind of care. Over time, we can encourage people to support these types of organizations in hopes of creating more of them.