CHILDREN’S HOSPICE: Private Foundation Funds Project
With a "generous grant" from Berkeley psychologist Kathy Nicholson Hull, the George Mark Children's House Foundation began construction Monday on its pediatric hospice on "a lovely parcel of land in San Leandro, six acres at the foot of a grassy hill, with a view of San Francisco Bay to the West." The program "may be the first residential hospice program in the country dedicated solely to the needs of dying children." According to hospice executive director Julie Cundith, the facility takes after the British pediatric hospice system in its resemblance of a "country resort" more than a medical facility, "a rambling, one-story structure with eight private bedrooms, each facing onto a garden." Great Britain has 22 hospices of similar size, each costing about $1.2 million a year to operate. Hull, who works with dying children and their families, donated the majority of the $6.5 million needed to build the George Mark facility. The hospice is named after her two brothers, George and Mark, both of whom died at young ages. Most hospice care, which stresses "pain management and the emotional and spiritual needs of dying people and their loved ones" is provided in patients' homes. The few existing pediatric hospices are located in hospital wings. "We are providing an alternative that doesn't exist today," Hull said. Comfort Care for Kids, a Concord-based pediatric hospice program that provides care for dying children and their families in five local counties, has worked closely in the development of the hospice. Members of Comfort Care of Kids' board sit on the George Mark Children's House board. The new facility should be completed by January 2001, and intends to care for some 200 Bay Area children annually (Russell, San Francisco Chronicle, 10/19).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.