Gilchrist Kids Celebrates 11 Years of Caring for the Youngest of Patients
This July Gilchrist Kids celebrates 11-years of service. Gilchrist’s Kids is a pediatric hospice program providing medical care to children with life-limiting illnesses and emotional support for their families. Since its inception, the program has grown into one of the largest pediatric hospice programs in the country.
Each year, the Gilchrist Kids program continues to grow, thanks to the ongoing support from our community. We now have pediatric home hospice patients in nine counties throughout Maryland, including Frederick, Baltimore, Harford, Cecil, Carroll, Howard, Baltimore City, Anne Arundel and Prince George’s. Our patients and families have around-the-clock access to our interdisciplinary team of pediatric-trained specialists, including a physician, nurse, chaplain, social worker, volunteer and child life specialist.
Many families express the comfort and relief they feel knowing that with one phone call, our team can be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The program is a lifeline for families facing heartbreaking circumstances. The Gilchrist Kids team provides specialized care, equipment and medication at home. They also offer emotional support for families, who often are experiencing enormous stress, exhaustion from caregiving, and feelings of isolation.
The program serves infants, children and young adults. Some of the most common conditions of children served include cancer, genetic disorders, cardiac or respiratory disease, and neurological disorders. We also continue to provide support to the community through our perinatal hospice program. The Gilchrist Kids team wraps our services around families whose unborn babies have been given a life-threatening diagnosis during pregnancy. Some of the tiniest of patients, after being born, are then transitioned to pediatric home hospice after leaving the hospital.
In 2018, we opened a state-of-the-art, one of a kind, pediatric inpatient hospice unit at Gilchrist Center Baltimore, where our pediatric patients can be cared for around the clock by a dedicated pediatric staff. Gilchrist is the only organization providing pediatric hospice care in Baltimore City, and has the only inpatient pediatric hospice unit in Maryland. We look forward to transitioning the inpatient unit to a newly built location at Stadium Place—site of the former Memorial Stadium—opening this fall. The new center will allow us to expand and enhance the inpatient experience for our pediatric patients.
Concurrent care, a provision of the Affordable Care Act, continues to allow many of our pediatric patients the opportunity to pursue curative treatment for their disease alongside hospice services from Gilchrist. Concurrent care allows our program to continue its growth since patients with this insurance benefit are eligible to participate in clinical trials, immunotherapies and other cutting-edge disease-directed treatments. Our team has also forged valuable relationships with our hospital-based providers, as many of our patients regularly spend time inpatient in the hospital as well.
Gilchrist Kids also partners and networks with other pediatric hospices in the area to ensure that we are dedicated to learning and providing best practices. Families can be assured that when faced with the difficult decision to enroll their child in home hospice, Gilchrist Kids is working hard to be a leader in knowledge and service.
Our pediatric hospice program has come a long way in the past 11 years. We are excited to continue expanding our services to meet the needs of children and families throughout the community.
To learn more about Gilchrist Kids, visit gilchristcares.org/gilchrist-kids. To support our work, visit gilchristcares.org/give.