For us at the Belarusian Children’s Hospice (BCH), 2016 has been a landmark year: our new state of the art children's hospice building in Minsk called Forest Glade was completed, opened and became operational. We all did a great job. However, behind this short phrase is hidden the work of dozens of people both in Belarus and in distant Britain, nearly two thousand kilometres away. Our joint work and the results achieved have once again confirmed that complexity and distance are not obstacles for people who have set a goal and are determined to implement it. Many thanks for your work, for your assistance and a deep understanding of our situation!
In recent years, it has been very hard work to fundraise for and construct Forest Glade. This was a hugely ambitious project and reaching our goal was sometimes fraught with difficulty and disappointment but we did it. In the coming year we will build on our achievements as Forest Glade becomes fully functioning. Our core work of Hospice at Home is co-ordinated from here and we will, as ever, continue to run this service to the best of our ability to provide world class palliative care for our families.
Despite these wonderful achievements, it is not in our nature to stop here! We really want to turn the new building into a centre of excellence and provide palliative care for Belarusian children which combines all the most modern methods and approaches to ensure the best quality of life possible for children with life-threatening and life-limiting illnesses. Our services already include individual palliative care programmes delivered by a team of medical professionals, therapeutic exercises, massage, hydrotherapy, music and art therapy and psychological support for our children and their families. All this is possible, thanks to the expertise of BCH staff, many of whom have been trained in Europe.
The next discipline we are going to add to our care programmes is physiotherapy. We look forward to working with Friends of BCH to introduce and develop a therapy service which will help our children learn, improve and keep skills to help them reach and maintain their potential for daily living. This kind of therapy can awaken the body’s internal reserves and, in some cases, prevent unnecessary complications developing. BCH staff will train with British physiotherapists with expertise in paediatric palliative care and we will receive advice and guidance on how to set up a specially equipped room at Forest Glade. We also hope to create a mobile team to provide physiotherapy to children at home and to teach family members how to help their child between visits.
This service, like all our others to sick children and their families, will be delivered free of charge.
Hospice at Home has until now been available only in the Minsk area so BCH is training practitioners in several other regions in Belarus so that more children in our country can receive care in their own home surrounded by their family. Spreading best practice is very important to us and we will use the splendid conference facilities at Forest Glade to continue training health care professionals from our own country and abroad.
All of this would not be possible without you, our friends. Thank you for being with us. We wish you peace and harmony in your family and good health.
Director of the Belarusian Children`s Hospice