With over 4,700 hospice homes in the United States, there are only three that specifically serve children and their unique needs. An estimated 2,200 families in Minnesota alone are caring for a child with shortened life-expectancy requiring around-the-clock care and unpredictable hospitalizations, which means little to no breaks for the parents as the child’s primary caregiver. Quality time with their child is essential for sustaining energy and hope, but it can be nearly impossible for most families to find this precious time among the daily challenges.
Children’s Lighthouse of Minnesota has been working since 2009 to create the first residential children’s hospice and respite care home in the Twin Cities. The home will provide palliative care for children with conditions not responsive to curative care.
Once built, children with life-threatening illnesses will be able to stay at Children’s Lighthouse in one of 8-10 bedrooms for respite stays and as a sacred place at the end-of-life. The home will also offer 3-4 family suites so that the family may remain close, be supported, and have an opportunity to develop meaningful and supportive relationships with other families with similar experiences.
“We are so grateful for the Nature Valley Bicycle Festival’s commitment to support children with life-limiting conditions and their families, and are honored to be the benefiting charity as we work to build a children's hospice and respite home,” said Katie Lindenfelser, executive director of Children’s Lighthouse of Minnesota. “While there are dedicated services to children in the home and hospital, Children's Lighthouse will be the first hospice and respite home built specifically for children and their unique needs in the Midwest - a place for fun and comfort care during respite stays, and, as needed, a sacred place where the family can be together at the end of a child's life.”
Children’s Lighthouse continues to work with local pediatric healthcare organizations including hospitals and homecare agencies, in addition to the Minnesota Department of Health to determine the proper licensure and potential reimbursement models necessary, yet will continue to rely on community donations until further healthcare laws for children with life-limiting conditions change. Children’s hospice and respite care homes around the world are primarily funded by community philanthropy and Children’s Lighthouse believes that Minnesotans have the means to make this home a reality for children and families here too.