Wings Pediatric Hospice Program
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The Wings pediatric hospice program focuses on children with a terminal illness, to bring peace and comfort to the child and family by not only managing physical symptoms, but to provide psychosocial and spiritual support for families during these last moments. The Wings hospice team provides a variety of activities, information, resources and services that can help the families celebrate life and make memories. Care is individualized for each family and the Wings medical director is available to direct care for the child or to assist the child’s own physician in managing care.
Bringing comfort home to pediatric patients
The Wings program is a home-based pediatric program in the St. Louis area serving children and their families while they cope with an acute, chronic or terminal illness. Care is provided on an intermittent visit basis by a team of specialized pediatric staff including:
- Registered nurses
- Social worker
- Expressive therapist
- Music therapist
- Medical director, board certified in pediatric palliative care
The same team can provide palliative home care or hospice care for children and their families, providing a seamless transition from one to the other, if needed.
Wings Pediatric Palliative Care Program
The Wings pediatric palliative care program provides support in the home for families whose children have an acute or chronic illness requiring intermittent nursing visits. Our nurses have extensive experience with complex medical regimens including:
- Feeding tubes
- Infusion therapy
- Respiratory interventions
- Wound care
Pediatric nurses are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to answer any questions about your child’s care and can make after-hours visits, if necessary, for urgent needs.
The Wings specialized pediatric staff are available on an as-needed basis to support the entire family. If a child’s condition becomes terminal, the same team of specialized pediatric staff will remain with the child, providing an almost seamless transition to hospice care.
How do children qualify for Wings?
A child may qualify for the BJC Wings pediatric palliative care or hospice programs if they:
- Have an acute or chronic illness requiring nursing visits in the home
- Have a terminal illness
- Have a complex medical regimen requiring frequent adjustments and assessments
- Prefer to remain at home and out of the hospital as much as possible
- Are not recovering to their baseline after illness exacerbations or hospitalizations
The Wings team provides:
- Coordination of complex medical care, including pain and symptom management, medication management and nutrition
- Education for families enabling them to care for their child at home instead of in the hospital
- Registered nurse on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for answering questions or making after-hours visits for emergent needs
- Psychosocial, spiritual and practical support for the family during their child’s illness
- Coordination of medical equipment and home infusion needs
- Expressive and music therapists who use music, art, writing and play to help children and siblings cope with the challenges that illness brings to the entire family
- Discharge planning assistance to ensure a smooth transition home from the hospital
- Phone support to outside hospices when a child lives outside our service area
- Volunteers that can help with child care, errands or household tasks as well as pet therapy
- Support for school personnel to enable children not only to attend school when possible but also to stay connected with teachers and classmates
- Bereavement support for the entire family after the death of a child
In 1997, BJC Home Care services assured that a full continuum of care would be available for children by starting our region's first licensed and Medicare/Medicaid certified pediatric hospice program.
As the region's only pediatric hospice, the BJC Wings Program provides compassionate end-of-life care for children diagnosed with terminal illnesses.
Since its inception, Wings has served over 1500 children in the St. Louis metropolitan area and communities on both side of the Mississippi River.