Gilchrist Kids: When a Child Has a Life-Limiting Illness

February 28, 2020, Gilchrist, Gilchrist Kids

When a child has a serious illness with no cure, it can become all-consuming for the parents and siblings of the sick child. There are myriad issues to address beyond the child’s illness. Parents grieve for the life they once dreamed for their child. They suffer from enormous stress, exhaustion from caregiving, and feelings of isolation. The child and their siblings may be confused, scared and worried. Families live their lives in limbo—not knowing what the future holds.

Coordinating care with multiple specialists, agonizing over medical decisions and keeping up with the demands of caregiving while managing their day-to-day lives can be overwhelming. It is impossible to go through it alone. For families facing this unthinkable reality of a sick child, Gilchrist Kids is a beacon of light—offering care and emotional support for the whole family.

Who Does Gilchrist Kids Serve?

Gilchrist Kids provides medical care to infants, children and young adults with any life-limiting illness, along with emotional support for their families. Some of the most common conditions of children in our care include cancer, genetic disorders, cardiac or respiratory disease and neurological disorders. We serve families residing in Baltimore City and Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Frederick, Harford and Howard Counties.

Gilchrist Kids care can be initiated as soon as it is recognized that the child has a life-limiting illness. Unlike adult hospice, children receiving pediatric hospice care can continue receiving treatment for their condition.

Gilchrist Kids Stories

Below are stories of some of the children and families we have served.

Lilley’s Story: The Unknown Road Ahead 

Amanda’s Story: Never Alone

Leo’s Story: Against All Odds

Alex’s Story: Extraordinary Empathy

Christopher’s Story: More Compassion

Who Is on the Gilchrist Kids Team?

Gilchrist Kids has a specialized team of pediatric-trained doctors, nurses, social workers, child life specialists, chaplains, counselors and volunteers to provide comprehensive care and support for the child and their family.

What Services Does Gilchrist Kids Provide?

The overarching goal of Gilchrist Kids is to help the child “live well,” surrounded by loved ones in the place where they are most comfortable. The team is available to help families 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to:

Manage medications, pain and other symptoms
Assess the child’s physical condition
Educate the whole family about what to expect
Assist parents as they work through the intense emotions and probing spiritual questions that often accompany a life-limiting illness
Work closely with the child’s current care team to ensure continuity of care planning
Provide child-life therapy for the child and their siblings
Where Does Gilchrist Kids Provide Care?

Visits mostly take place in the home, but the team is available to meet families at the child’s other appointments or other convenient locations. Gilchrist Center Baltimore offers respite care—which allows families to take a break from caregiving or go on vacation—as well as inpatient care when a child needs hospital-level services. Gilchrist Center Baltimore is the only inpatient pediatric hospice unit in Maryland.

See a virtual tour of Gilchrist Center Baltimore

If you or someone you know has a child with a life-limiting illness, Gilchrist Kids can help. Learn more or request care, here.

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