Children in Hospital
Our hospital work started three years before the Foundation came into being. Firstly, we wanted to discover, "map out" and describe the hospital environment and its impact on hospitalized children, and, secondly, to lessen those "negatives" that could be lessened, and to find ways to help children cope with long and difficult stays in hospital.
We started to visit the cancer ward in the biggest paediatric teaching hospital in the Czech Republic, Motol Hospital in Prague, in 1988. As our personal contact with sick children grew closer, we started to realise that some aspects of hospital care for children were alarming.
Almost total separation from the family, limited visiting hours for parents, expulsion of parents from the ward every evening – no matter how young and sad their children were… How often the fact was ignored that the sick little person also needs a space to live and breathe freely…
We saw that if the parents were expelled from the ward and the intimate family ties broken, the child was like a flower that had been taken from its garden and placed in a suffocating glasshouse. It’s not surprising then that the child often withers – despite all the expensive medicines he may be given…
Hospitalised children usually do not differ from the healthy ones as far as their needs and self-perception are concerned - they need just what all the children do: to be treated frankly, fairly, with friendship, honestly and with an open heart and mind, to be in touch with absolutely normal, commonplace, everyday - but nice - things and events.
The sick children don't stop "being normal" just because of their illness: the only substantial difference between those children we perceive as "normal" or "healthy" and those who are ill is in the amount (and sort) of suffering and pain they experience.
Our hospital work thus started to focus on bringing the parents to hospital and advocating the right of parents and their children to be together - even in hospital.
Please look at the selection of our "hospital" activities in the left menu.