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INCTR Brazil’s Hospice for Pediatric Cancer Patients

TUCCA Hospice Francesco Leonardo Beira

In November 2013, INCTR Brazil and its partner TUCCA opened TUCCA Hospice Francesco Leonardo Beira.  It is unique in that it is the first and only hospice for terminally ill pediatric cancer patients in the country.  The hospice is nearby the Santa Marcelina Hospital, but is not located on hospital grounds.  It provides comprehensive end-of-life care that is not limited to the required medical and nursing care, but also includes psychosocial support. Psychosocial support includes counseling of the patients, their families, including siblings and extended family members, and their friends.  This support is also there to assist the families with social problems.  Assistance is provided after death - which includes not only support, but also for ensuring family wishes are respected when life ends.

The hospice has three suites to accommodate patients and their families and friends. Extended family members are welcomed so that they can provide additional support to both the patients and their parents. Friends of the patients are invited so that they can maintain relationships and also provide a sense of normalcy through playing and social interactions. Patients may have as many activities “outside” of the hospice as they wish - such as going to church - and a driver is on staff to facilitate these activities. An art therapist comes to interact with the patients so that they can express themselves through artwork.

More than 25 children and adolescents have been helped by the hospice.  The average duration of stay in the hospice is 15 days, but in certain cases is longer – over 50 days.   

The hospice is supported by funds raised by TUCCA and also by donations from the business community.  In spite of the poverty of the families who have lost a child, they, too, contribute in small ways to show their appreciation for the care received at the hospice.

For more information about the hospice, contact: inctr@inctrbrasil.org

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