Fund for sick children proposed
The creation of a national fund for children with life limiting conditions has been proposed by two organisations for sick children, along with TD Denis Naughten.
Both the Jack and Jill foundation and LauraLynn House, Ireland's Children's Hospice are supporting the creation of such a fund, which would see an increase in sick children able to stay at home rather than at hospital.
Current rules state that if a parent wishes to care for their sick child at home they are dependent on the funding drawn from the overall budget of their local Primary, Continuing, and Community Care (PCCC) office
Representatives from the two groups, as well as Mr Naughten, have written to Minister for Health James Reilly outlining why they believe the cost-neutral proposal is a good idea.
The proposal would see the creation of a national home care budget for children with life limiting conditions. According to the outline, this would be achieved by segregating the funding currently being provided by individual PCCCs and sending it to a single HSE national officer responsible for its disbursement.
The fund would allow medical costs to be negotiated, free up more paediatric beds in hospitals and would allow more sick children to come home for Christmas.
According to Lauralynn’s chief executive Philomena Dunne, many sick children are unable to spend what may be their last Christmas at home, which she said was a shame to see happen in modern Ireland.
“It is a terrible indictment on this country that this can happen. We need to make sure that we are not here again next November discussing the same matter,” she said.
“These children are our unsung little heroes.”
Despite the fact that there is money being provided for sick children and their families, their needs are still not being met, according to Mr Naughten.
“In the last 12 months the various Primary, Continuing and Community Care offices throughout the country have spent €8.2 million on the home care of children with life limiting conditions at an average cost of €47,292 per child. However, despite this spend the needs of children and families are simply not been met,” he said.
“As the service is totally been smothered by internal health politics leaving the likes of Lauralynn Children’s Hospice and Jack and Jill picking up the slack. An intervention which prevents these 1,400 children from having to spend their limited life’s in hospital.”