Writing on the blog four years ago in 2016, Natasha Pedersen, Secretary General, Norwegian Association for Children’s Palliative Care (NACPC), explained the struggle to raise awareness for the need for a children’s hospice in Norway. Today, Natasha shares some fantastic news…
On Friday 19 June, the Norwegian Parliament, the Storting, formally adopted its decision to fund the country’s first children’s hospice. This followed the announcement on 11 June that the Norwegian Association for Children’s Palliative Care (NACPC) would receive an annual grant of NOK 30 million (Euros three million) to establish and operate the hospice, which will be located in Kristiansand, a major town near the southern tip of Norway. Planning is already well under way.
This is a milestone in a struggle that has lasted for many years. We are very pleased that the decision has finally been made, and that the government and the majority of the Storting are behind us – and Norway gets its very first children’s hospice! Unfortunately, there is currently insufficient data to give an estimated number of children who would benefit from palliative care in Norway and this is something that we must develop.
An important supplement to care
We’re going to develop a completely new organisational model that we haven’t seen in the Norwegian healthcare system before, a model that, in addition to the crucial government funding, will also be characterised by voluntary and non-profit involvement. It’s exciting to finally start the most important work: to construct the building and fill it with furniture, equipment and essential services for the whole family.
The children’s hospice will be an important supplement to public health services in Norway. It’s not meant to replace anything, but to offer something that the country hasn’t had so far, for a very vulnerable group of children and young people with life-limiting illnesses from all over the country, and also support for their families. Services will include inpatient and outpatient care, respite for families and outreach services.
A national centre of competence
The children’s hospice will include a national centre of competence that will contribute to achieving the best possible treatment and care for children and young people, regardless of their place of residence or where they are cared for. We hope that what we learn from this, the first children’s hospice in Norway, will help us to build up our knowledge and experience so that children’s hospices will be set up in other health regions in Norway to enable greater access to specialist paediatric palliative care services.
Key tasks will be raising competence, professional development and research, networking and organising palliative services. NACPC will collaborate with professionals in specialist health services, municipal health services and universities and colleges, as well as with other organisations and children’s hospices internationally – and hopefully, with other Norwegian children’s hospices in the future.
Right now, one of our key tasks is to get hold of the right people to fill all the positions and roles so that the hospice is ready to welcome the children and their families when we open in the summer of 2022. Even before we started the recruitment process, we had received several open applications before any vacancies had been announced.
Our dream to create the first Children’s Hospice in Norway is finally coming alive and we appreciate the efforts of everyone who has helped us along the way.
- Foreningen for barnepalliasjon – FFB.
- Contact Natasha Pedersen by email.
- Natasha Pedersen is a member of the European Association for Palliative Care (EAPC) Board of Directors. Read more about Natasha’s work here.
- European Paediatric Palliative Care Conference, Kristiansand, Norway – 8 to 10 September 2021.
Read more about children’s palliative care on the EAPC blog.
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