BEAR COTTAGE – WHERE LIFE IS FOR LIVING
Langton's will be conducting a special Bear Cottage Charity Auction as part of our special Langton's 20th Anniversary Classification Auction.
We hope all our members can support this worthy cause. All proceeds will be donated by the seller, Response Systems International to the Bear Cottage. Langton's will donate all commissions. The auction will open on the 20th October and close on the 3rd November. Bear Cottage is located on Sydney’s Northern Beaches in Manly and is NSW’s only children’s hospice. Families do not pay for any Bear Cottage services and all costs of operating are raised entirely through donations from the community, corporate support and via fundraising events.
About Bear Cottage
Bear Cottage is located on Sydney’s Northern Beaches in Manly and is NSW’s only children’s hospice. It is designed as a large beach home, with specialist medical care available 24 hours a day. Its location in Manly ensures families and children can rest in the tranquil surroundings near all the attractions and amenities of one of Sydney’s traditional holiday destinations. Families do not pay for any Bear Cottage services and all costs of operating are raised entirely through donations from the community, corporate support and via fundraising events.
The Role of a Children’s Hospice
Paediatric palliative care is distinctly different from adult palliative care and the needs of children with life limiting illnesses are unique. Life limiting childhood illnesses are different. The period of terminal care is often longer, the number of people affected by the patient’s illness is larger and respite care for the whole family is important. Emphasis in hospice care provision is placed on family focused care and the provision of respite. Hospices enhance the quality of life of patients with terminal illnesses and ensure that the time remaining for patients and their families is as rewarding and relaxing as possible.
An initiative of The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, Bear Cottage offers:
• respite care for children and young people with life limiting illnesses and their families
• palliative care for when a child is in the end-of-life phase of their illness
• bereavement support for parents and siblings after the death of a child
This is achieved by providing:
• a place of rest and support where daily tasks such as children’s medical needs, cooking and cleaning are done by staff and volunteers so that families may spend quality time together
• a homelike environment where children can die in dignity with medical and emotional support
• on-going support from familiar staff professionally trained in palliative care
Bear Cottage Features
The hospice is a state of the art facility filled with professional and caring staff and volunteers:
• ten patient rooms
• two family suites
• a spa
• a multisensory room
• a sensory garden
• resident dog, named “Scooter”
• kitchen and chef
• 24-hour nursing care
• a play therapist
• visiting medical staff
Bear Cottage is the only children’s hospice in the world owned and operated by a paediatric hospital, meaning:
• A more sophisticated level of care can be provided than any other children’s hospice.
• 24-hour access to the knowledge and skills of world-leading practioners.
The Facts and Figures
Bear Cottage accepts patients from right across Australia. All children from 0-18 years of age with a life limiting illness can be referred to Bear Cottage regardless of where they receive primary care.
Estimates suggest there are 5300 children aged 0 – 19 years across Australia requiring palliative care (Hyson et al, Medical Journal of Australia,15 September, 2003).
A snapshot of services
It costs $2 million to operate Bear Cottage each year and all operating expenses are raised entirely through donations from the community.
There are so many vital elements to the Bear Cottage service charter however a brief summary of some of these services is listed below to give you a greater insight into their importance.
Play and recreation must form an essential part of any paediatric palliative care program. Play is the language which children use to make sense of their world, as such it is a powerful tool for alleviating anxiety, promoting feelings on control and giving opportunities for self expression.
The play program at Bear Cottage aims to provide activities and an environment which promotes adding life to years, days and moments. The program incorporates in house activities both one to one and in groups, as well as outings and visiting specialists such as musicians, artists, storytellers and Clown Doctors.
Play allows children with life limiting illnesses to
• create objects by which people will remember them
• have power in situations where almost all of their decision making is diminished
• escape from what is happening to them
• maintain their interests and have short term goals for as long as possible
Play is also essential for the siblings of these children who require an opportunity to express themselves and to be seen as individuals in their own right.
Respite at Bear Cottage
Respite at Bear Cottage aims to relieve the stress patients endure while living with a life limiting illness and families experience while caring for someone with such an illness. Children who become dependent on their family members for feeding, administering of medications and bathing, can feel like a burden or that they have no privacy. Parents may not have the time to devote their attention to other siblings, their partner or themselves, especially when balancing these demands with other responsibilities such as work. Siblings often become secondary caregivers and occasionally primary caregivers. This is challenging for children to balance with responsibilities at school and may also cause isolation or emotional stress to which other children their age cannot relate. Time at Bear Cottage can help reduce this stress and allow the families to interact as one cohesive unit and spend quality time together doing things they enjoy.
Sibling Support Program
The aim of the Siblings in Grief Support Program is to promote the importance of recognising and acknowledging that a chronic illness in a child affects more than the child who is ill. It impacts on the parents, the family as a unit but also on the individual brothers and sisters of the sick child. In addition the program aims to
• Help siblings feel they are special too and acknowledged in their own right
• Give siblings an opportunity to meet other children in similar situations
• Give siblings time to have fun, away from their responsibilities at home
• Learn new ways of coping with difficult situations
Bear Cottage Kitchen Services
A vital element of the Bear Cottage philosophy is ensuring families who stay with us do not have to do chores such as cooking and cleaning, thus allowing them to spend quality time together as a family. The kitchen is a major essence of Bear Cottage and creates a home-like environment.
We provide families with three meals a day whilst they stay with us but it’s not just as simple as cooking the meals. Like any household, the kitchen is the hub of Bear Cottage, many times our chef has welcomed budding young cooks into the kitchen to help prepare lunch or to discuss their weird and wonderful requests for dinner and it’s not uncommon to see parents leaning on the counter chatting away – it’s a place where they can feel ‘normal’.
When friends come to visit, there is always a plate of biscuits or muffins’, doing this ensures everyone feels comfortable and further cements our vision of creating a home-like atmosphere for the families who stay with us.
A Snapshot of Costs
$20 would fund the medication to manage a terminally ill child’s pain for one day
$50 would supply morphine for a palliative patient for one week
$150 would supply the fruit and vegetables for one week
$250 would fund much needed medication for a month
$1,000 would provide a family of four with respite at Bear Cottage for one week
$1,200 would fund the electricity for one month
$5,000 would pay for a senior paediatric nurse for one month
$10,000 would fund a week’s camp for 6 boys living with Duchenne’s Muscular Dystrophy
$25,000 would pay the Bear Cottage grocery bill for one year
$50,000 would fund a therapist for one year
$100,000 would sponsor a bedroom at Bear Cottage for one year – take your pick – Manly, Freshwater etc.
Whilst it is unfortunate that families require a facility such as ours, we never know what lies ahead and it is of comfort to know that Bear Cottage is there to support our precious children and their families at such a dark period of their lives. Any support you are able to provide to enable these children and their families to make the most of every moment they have together is greatly appreciated.
For additional information on Bear Cottage please go to www.bearcottage.chw.edu.au
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