The first freestanding facility to support medically fragile children and their families was established in England in 1982. The United Kingdom now has more than 40 such homes providing respite and palliative care services to families. As of 2021 in the United States, there are currently only three homes operating to support this community, and none in the southeast.
“If your child has a life-limiting condition and you happen to live in the United Kingdom, your family has access to an amazing network of more than forty children’s palliative care and hospice houses. These homes, which are available to families from the time of diagnosis through and beyond a child’s death, are places for families to get a break, and children to receive emergency or symptom-based relief throughout their lifespans.
But if you live in the United States, your child is unlikely to ever encounter a palliative care house. Only three palliative care houses currently exist, with four others in development. There are also a small number of home-like pediatric facilities that provide general respite and transitional care, but these vary widely in the level of care accepted and services provided. In the United States, if children can get out-of-home respite services at all, they are most likely to take place in an institutional facility, such as a nursing home or even a hospital.”
Susan Agrawal, Complex Child Magazine
The Board of Directors at Life House Atlanta are developing the model for our house through research and conversations with the leadership of the other three United States facilities. These are: George Mark House, Ryan House and Crescent Cove.
There is much work ahead, but more importantly, there is a community of families which desperately need our help. We invite your support as we work to fill the need in this very important way.