At Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health, our goal is to help maximize the quality of a child’s remaining life while providing solace to both the child and his or her family. Our cohesive team of physicians, nurses, social workers and other specially trained individuals provides pediatric end-of-life care, including:
- Nursing visits
- Respite care for caregivers
- Pharmaceutical services
- Medical social work
- Spiritual care
- Counseling services
- 24-hour, on-call support and service
- Family support and education
- Inpatient hospital care for emergencies
- Bereavement program and family grief support
- Support groups and seminars
In addition to hospice care, Riley at IU Health offers Hope in Healing, a pediatric bereavement program that provides grief support to families who have lost a child.
An IU Health Riley hospice physician will work closely with your child’s pediatrician to gather a medical history, order necessary tests and make home visits, as needed. Hospice physicians provide expertise in pain and symptom control at the end of life, working closely with a patient’s entire team to determine appropriate medical interventions.
Our nursing staff is on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week for emergencies and will see patients as often as needed, depending on the disease progression and the patient’s issues. A pediatric nurse practitioner, as well as nurses who specialize in pediatrics, are available to visit patients and families in the home to assess pain, symptoms, nutritional status, functions, psychosocial concerns, spiritual needs and safety issues. The hospice nurse will review an overall plan of care, and help educate family members about disease progression, use of medications and daily care needs. Specialized training in pediatrics is also provided for our home health aides, to ensure the best possible care for our youngest patients as they face terminal illnesses.
Families may choose to have a social worker as part of their care team. Social workers attend to both the practical and counseling needs of the patient and family, including:
- Arrranging for durable medical equipment
- Providing discharge planning (from hospital to home)
- Assisting with funeral and burial arrangements
- Serving as a liaison with community agencies
- Locating services to address financial or legal matters
- Assessing anxiety, depression and caregiver stress
Chaplain services are available to help families sustain their religious practices when a family member is nearing the end of life. A chaplain provides spiritual counseling and helps both patients and their families cope with illness, dying and grief by drawing strength through regligious and spiritual beliefs. In addition, he or she may conduct funeral and memorial services as requested by the family.
The Riley hospice team, in conjunction with hospice volunteers, offers complementary and alternative services helps improve the quality of life for our patients. These therapies include:
- Music therapy—Live, acoustic and therapeutic music is provided at the bedside by certified music practitioners.
- Massage therapy—Massage assists in pain management and symptom relief.
- Energy therapy (Reiki)—An ancient healing touch therapy, energy therapy helps restore the balance of the body's physical, mental and emotional levels.
- Art therapy—Using the creative process, art therapy helps improve and enhance physical, mental and emotional well-being.
- Pet therapy—Research shows that patients who have regular visits from pets are more receptive to medical treatment and nourishment.