We look after children with cancer in their homes in Bucharest and neighbouring counties

Santa Claus came to the Paediatric Oncology department of the Bucharest Oncological Institute (IOB) with Christmas decorations, gifts for the children hospitalized here and with the daily hum of the medical team. The little ones wait patiently to be seen by the attending physician for routine check-ups, armed with a patience that not many of the “grown-ups” have at the end of the year.

However, most of the little cancer fighters are thinking about the Christmas tree at home and their friends. Some of them must stay in the hospital during the holidays, just like the doctors and nurses who can’t take time off. Because even cancer doesn’t take a break.

Children who can go home have the opportunity to be included in a home care program, through an initiative launched by Dăruiește Aripi at the end of August this year. Teams made up of medical staff from the Bucharest Oncological Institute and specialists from our Association visit children from Bucharest and seven neighboring counties for blood collection, monitoring between chemotherapy sessions, psychological counseling for the whole family and many other services. All this is carried out under the guidance of the attending physician, through an innovative approach that saves time for the hospital staff, but especially for the family. Most of the time, parents and children must spend hours on the road or waiting in the halls of IOB.

The youngest of the patients included in the program is only eight months old. A fragile soul that our whole team, 17 people in all, wants to see well as soon as possible. It’s just that wellness for children with cancer is a relative concept, assessed five years after the end of treatment, and over time in adolescence and young adulthood. We set out to intervene as quickly as possible along this path and, based on the experience of the home care programs in Muntenia and Dobrodgea, to expand the model at national level. We want that together, Dăruiește Aripi Association, the network of public pediatric onco-hematology hospitals from all over the country, the Ministry of Health and the National Health Insurance House, to rewrite the journey back to a healthy, normal life for all these children and to see them, in years to come, holding their own offsprings in front of the Christmas tree.

Octav Ganea – Inquam Photos

Author: Raluca Bragarea

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