Hospice of Citrus and the Nature Coast, licensed 1985, is a nonprofit charitable organization providing comprehensively responsive and compassionate end-of-life services to the terminally ill and their families in 12 counties of North Central Florida. We also provide grief support services for children and adults in our communities. Herry’s Kids Pediatric Services provides specialized services to children and teens with life-threatening illnesses, and offers grief support and therapeutic camps to young people who have experienced a loss. Our services include:
- Pediatric Hospice Care
- Pediatric Grief Support Camp Good Hope/Teen Encounter
PEDIATRIC HOSPICE CARE With a focus on pain control, symptom management and quality of life, our Pediatric Hospice Care Team addresses the needs of each child working to meet their physical, psychological, social and spiritual needs. The Pediatric Care Team brings a special touch to children with life-limiting conditions. Babies, toddlers, youngsters and teens – along with their families – can find improved comfort, guidance and support. Professional skills include:
- Physicians who oversee each child’s plan of care;
- Pediatric Nurses who visit and evaluate the child’s plan of care;
- Home Health Aides who assist with bathing and grooming;
- Chaplains and Social Workers who support and address the emotional, social, financial and spiritual needs of the entire family;
- Volunteers, who generously give their time to visit with children, provide appropriate therapies, relieve family caregivers and help in many other ways.
PEDIATRIC GRIEF SUPPORT Children often have a difficult time expressing their feelings about loss and grief. However, when they are among their peers who also have experienced loss, they tend to talk about their thoughts and feelings.
Children who improve their ability to deal with grief and loss issues serve as role models for others and are able to make positive contributions in their community and in society.
For over 20 years, weekend grief support camps and day camps have provided an honest, safe place where kids can talk openly about their loss and improve their ability to cope. Camps, which average over 50 children and teens with the support of over 100 trained volunteers and staff, provide an array of comprehensive activities in a relaxed outdoor setting. Volunteers and professional staff guide the children through team-building exercises, canoeing, crafts, games and discussions about feelings. Every camper receives a custom T-shirt, backpack and other camp accessories. Camp concludes with a memorial service.
Parents and school personnel report that 87% of the children who participate in Hospice of Citrus and the Nature Coast grief support programs improve academically and 93% improve behaviorally.