Parents' house at Children's hospital might have to depend on donations

Funding from the state and European Structural Funds for the Parents' House of the Children's Clinical University Hospital (BKUS) runs out next year and its maintenance will depend solely on donations in the future, Latvian Radio reported December 29.

Children's Hospital Parents' House is a place where parents of little patients can not only stay overnight but also cook, do laundry, have access to psychological support, and relax. Originally, the Parents' House only existed depending on donations, but later became a public service.

Maintaining the house  - premises, access to them around the clock - and also being able to run an oncology support project, which provides holistic help to children with cancer and their families, requires around €260 thousand a year. However, no funding from the state has been promised for next year and European Structural Funds funding will end.

Currently, the hospital has enough money to maintain the parents' house, but the oncology support project will have to be abandoned because it has no funding.

The Parents' House accommodates about a thousand people a year. Alongside the accommodation, psychological support is available there and parents can also relax, including massage and beauty treatments available for those parents staying there for long periods.

Parents' House is open to parents who have children in wards where it's impossible to live with them. Similarly, those parents who come to visit, for example, if the child is in an oncological unit. The house is also available to customers who travel to outpatient appointments from far away.

Parents' House daily maintenance worker Dzidra Aleksandrova, who has been working there for more than 10 years, stressed the need for donations and state support:  "Yes, we depend on donors. Bed linen, beds, covers, rugs - all of which are donated to us. And we also need money for utility and operating expenses. And in that sense, too, we depend on those who support us. It's wonderful – one day we open the donation box and there's two hundred euros all wrapped up in one package. So people feel the need to donate, especially those who have already been here."

Liene Dambiņa, head of the Children's Hospital Foundation, is still hoping for support from the Ministry of Welfare.

"If these funds are not found then of course we are [..] looking in due course for all possible ways to fully support the aid provided. And nobody should worry that the Parents' House might suddenly close its door or stop working at night. No, we will definitely find some solution so that all parents in need of such support will always have it," Dambiņa said.

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