Waldshut District: Provide comfort and support: The Waldshut District Child and Adolescent Hospitality Service is looking for helpers

That should be hopeful news for about 200 families in the Waldshut district who have a child who is currently not feeling well due to a serious illness.

Five years after the first outpatient child and adolescent hospice service from the Malteser Hilfsdienst started work in the Lörrach district, such an outpatient clinic is also being set up in the Waldshut district, which works exclusively with volunteers.

So far, the families from the Waldshut district have been cared for by the service in the neighboring neighborhood. But it has long been clear: if the care is to be long-lasting, short distances are required. The service is expected to begin in the spring of next year.

What should the structure of the Waldshut district look like?

There are a total of 36 such outpatient clinics for seriously ill children and young people in Baden-Württemberg. 13 of them are served by Maltester’s help desk. In order to better cover the large district, two offices are expected to be set up – one in Bad Säckingen and one in Lauchringen.

At the same time, Maltese Emergency Services is looking for volunteers who are willing to care for families with a seriously ill child. The new facility in the Waldshut district closes another gap between Freiburg and Lake Constance.

How has the situation been so far?

“Until now, the districts of Lörrach, Waldshut and Lake Constance were a white field on the map,” explained Elisabeth Freifrau Spies von Büllesheim, leader of the Maltese in the Archdiocese of Freiburg. “But the inquiries piled up in our hospice in Freiburg.”

About 200 children and young people in the Waldshut district are currently suffering from a life-limiting or chronically progressive disease. “And therefore also their families,” explains Verena Berg-Oestringer, consultant for the Maltese hospice work in the Archdiocese of Freiburg.

Are you looking for helpers?

Yes. Anyone who wants to get involved in the new outpatient hospice offer for children and young people can take part in one of the information events in the district.

Verena Berg-Oestringer can only show how much this volunteer work is needed.

“It’s about dignity in death and dignity in life,” says Berg-Oestringer, who wants to establish the new hospice service together with Elisabeth Freifrau Spies von Bühlersheim and Stefanie Schneider in the Waldshut district.

What are the tasks of the helpers?

The helpers in the outpatient child and adolescent hospice service accompany families where a child or young person suffers from a progressive and life-shortening illness.

“What an terminally ill child means for a family system – parents, siblings and friends – is difficult to understand for those who are not affected,” explains Verena Berg-Oestringer. “Everyday life in the family life is marked by the child’s or young person’s illness and is adjusted accordingly”. It is not uncommon for siblings to be neglected and the family system to be pushed to its limits. And this is where the work of the volunteers comes in. The helpers have no nursing or medical duties.

It is about giving time and thus relieving these families. “It can be a trip with siblings or care so the mother can go to the hairdresser,” says Freifrau Spies von Bühlersheim.

The helpers follow the children and young people from the diagnosis, offer comfort and provide support or concrete help to cope with everyday life.

Is there training?

Yes, in order to prepare the volunteer helpers for their task, they are trained in several modules. There is preparation, followed by internships and in-depth training. “Our helpers are being prepared for the fact that there will also be difficult moments,” Freifrau said.

The Future Service collaborates with the specialized outpatient palliative pediatrics in southern Baden and will be a member of the network for children and adolescents’ hospice in southern Baden “Lifetime for families”. There is also a close collaboration with the University Hospital Freiburg and with Lebenshilfe.

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