Created in 1999, The Lighthouse Children and Families is a non-profit organization that contributes to the wellbeing of children whose lives are threatened by illnesses that require complex treatment,and provides respite and support to their families.
To carry out its mission, The Lighthouse welcomes children at Maison André-Gratton, Quebec’s only pediatric palliative care home, which offers both respite stays andend-of-life care. It also offers in-home respite care and a family support program. All services are free of charge.
The Lighthouse, Children and Families offers two forms of respite so that parents can take a break.
Variable-length stays at Maison André-Gratton where children receive the special care they need. An interdisciplinary team made up of qualified doctors, nurses, and social workers is always on staff to provide the best possible care. Parents also know their children will have fun thanks to specialized educators and entertainers, numerous volunteers, Dr. Clown’s team, and pet, massage, and music therapists.
Weekly at-home respite service provided by volunteers and trained, supervised interns.
ACCOMPANYING AND SUPPORTING FAMILIES UNTIL THE VERY END
The Lighthouse, Children and Families understands the challenges faced by families of these children, and provides special assistance and support services for parents, sick children, and brothers and sisters.
Services also include symptom-management and transitional stays. Transitional stays provide support to families as their child returns home after a period in hospital.
As their child’s life draws to a close, the Lighthouse, Children and Families provides end-of-life care to make the experience as peaceful as possible. Families can stay with their child at Maison André-Gratton and draw on the interdisciplinary team’s support.
Children are eligible for the Lighthouse’s services if they suffer from a life-threatening disease whose course cannot be predicted. Often these are rare, degenerative, neurological, genetic, or heart diseases; pediatric cancers; or complex chronic conditions.
PEDIATRIC PALLIATIVE CARE
Pediatric palliative care is active, comprehensive care encompassing the physical, psychological, social, and spiritual care dimensions. The goal of palliative care is to provide children with the best possible quality of life and to support their families. This includes relieving children’s symptoms, providing a break for their families, and providing care up to death and through the period of mourning. Followup during bereavement is part of palliative care whatever the cause of death, including trauma and perinatal loss (source: Québec Standards of Practice for Pediatric Palliative Care, Santé et Services sociaux Québec).
At the Lighthouse, Children and Families, pediatric palliative care is part of a continuum of services that extends from receiving a diagnosis to the end of bereavement, with the understanding that the process can take many years.