Children’s hospice on-call service begins in Moscow

Two doctors, three
nurses, a social worker, a psychologist
, and a
priest will be able to make up to 25 on- call visits daily to terminally ill
children and their families. All services will be free of charge. On the first
day the team will visit three children suffering from Mucopolysaccharides
illness (MPS), paralysis of the central nervous system
, and severe cerebral palsy.

The nurses will see to
the medical care of the children as well as teaching their parents how to look
after them
. The social worker will
aid families in arranging all the necessary financial assistance,
paediatricians who have completed further training in the area of palliative
care will monitor each child’s condition and adjust medical care as necessary.

Doctor and priest Igor
Belov will provide emotional and spiritual support to the parents and children.
As Kseniya Kovalenok
paediatrician and director of the Children’s Hospice managed by the ‘Martha and
Mary Convent of Mercy’, points out “When parents are informed that their child
is terminally ill, many go into a state of shock; they do not know how to look
after their children and it is not unusual for families to fall apart.
Therefore, in addition to medical help and social support parents and children
often need emotional support as well.”

Experts estimate that
there are more than 20,000 children suffering from cancer and a further 40,000
with terminal non-oncological illnesses such as myasthenia, cystic fibrosis,
mucopolysaccharides, epidermolysis bullosa, paralysis of the nervous system,
and severe cerebral palsy. According to preliminary figures
, it is only in Moscow that the number of
children with terminal non-oncological illnesses exceeds 10,000. Up to now only
two medical institutions offered palliative care for such children. The
convent’s on-call service is intended to provide care not only for children
suffering from cancer but also for those with other terminal illnesses.

To make an application
for help from the on-call service, you can ring the following number: (495)
951-02-50. In addition to an on-call service, at the beginning of 2012 a
hospital palliative care unit managed by the convent will also begin operating.  It will be able to admit nine children at
the same time.

Most of the funds
(approximately 2 million roubles) essential for the creation of the hospital
unit were raised at the charity event “Day of the White Flower” which took
place on  25 September.

Vasilii Rulinskii
(member of the Holy Synod for Church Assistance and Social Aid in the Russian
Orthodox Church).

Telephone: (495)
911-72-97, е-mail:, website:

Translated by Lina

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