First Children’s Palliative Care Center Opens in Kyiv
Ukraine's Ministry of Health is planning to develop palliative care as part of medical reform: to create a register of those who need it and open regional centers
Several charity missions from different countries have joined forces to help kids with incurable diseases. At the center, specialists will be able to alleviate the patients’ symptoms, while allowing parents to be near their children.
At 11 years of age, Kyrylo has already undergone 21 surgeries. He was born with renal pathology. Later, he also had a stroke and cerebral edema. Kyrylo and his mother came to Kyiv from Zaporizhia, where doctors weren’t able to help the boy.
“At the moment, we’re treating a urological condition. There are some shifts in the bladder,” his mother said.
For years, Tetiana has been learning to help her son in difficult situations – to insert a catheter, and change tubes and bandages. She learned all this without any classes – simply by watching doctors. Parents are often deprived of professional assistance.
The first children’s palliative care center in Kyiv was opened with the help of several charity funds. In total, there are eight centers for people with incurable conditions in Ukraine, and around 80,000 children who suffer from them, according to the World Health Organization.
“Several thousand children live in institutions of the Ministry of Social Policy and the Ministry of Health, where these incurably ill children are deprived of parental care because parents have no access to assistance where they live,” Commissioner for Children’s Rights Mykola Kuleba said.
The center has equipment for resuscitation, respiratory support, and to monitor the patients, as well as bright, spacious rooms, which allow parents to be by their children’s side at all times. Specialists provide psychological as well as physical support.
“It’s hard to tell parents about such diagnoses, but we do it. We tell parents that we’re acting now, that we’re not going to wait until their child starts dying. We intervene actively, and there were cases when children recovered, there were several years of remission. But they needed special care,” Physician Liubov Slepova said.
Artem is going home for the weekend. He underwent needed procedures, and his condition is stable. Artem has been fighting lupus for five years. This disease affects almost his entire body.
Ukraine’s Ministry of Health is planning to develop palliative care as part of medical reform: to create a register of those who need it and open regional centers.
“When we talk about creating a palliative care system, it doesn’t mean that all children with incurable diseases will die at these centers. We mean that they will be provided with care, which will allow them to pass away in decent conditions,” Kuleba said.
In the near future, the center will sign a memorandum with the Kyiv city palliative service, which works on call, to join forces in providing assistance.