Children’s Hospice Work Day in Germany Date in the current year: February 10, 2024

Children’s Hospice Work Day in Germany Children’s Hospice Work Day (Tag der Kinderhospizarbeit), sometimes translated as simply Children’s Hospice Day, is observed in Germany on February 10 every year. It was created to highlight the contribution of all people working and volunteering at hospices for children and youth.

A hospice is a healthcare facility that provides palliative care for terminally ill patients, which is focused on relieving the patients’ pain and symptoms, and attending to their emotional and spiritual needs. The main goal of hospice care isn’t to prolong the lives of patients; it prioritizes reducing pain and suffering to ensure comfort and quality of life.

Most people associate the word “hospice” with old age, but children’s hospices exist too because, sadly, children and young adults can be affected by terminal diseases. The world’s first children’s hospice, Helen House, opened in Oxfordshire in 1882. Children’s hospices are specifically designed to help children and young people suffering from terminal illnesses to deal with the physical and emotional challenges they face, and also to provide support and bereavement counseling for their families.

Of course, any death is a tragedy, but knowing that a child won’t live to adulthood is especially heartbreaking, and working at children’s hospices is very emotionally taxing. Staff members and volunteers who provide inpatient and outpatient hospice care for children and young people deserve our utmost respect.

Children’s Hospice Work Day was established in 2006 by Deutscher Kinderhospizverein (German Children’s Hospice Association), a non-profit organization that supports families with children suffering from incurable diseases and operates a nationwide network of children’s hospices. The main goals of the observance are to dispel common misconceptions about children’s hospices, highlight the importance of volunteer work at hospices, raise funds for children’s hospices and patient support organizations, and show solidarity with affected families.

The symbol of Children’s Hospice Work Day is a green ribbon. It is meant to represent the bond between all actors in children’s hospice work, as well as solidarity with all children and young people suffering from terminal conditions, their parents, siblings and other affected family members. 

Deutscher Kinderhospizverein and other stakeholders (inpatient and outpatient children’s hospitals, various NGOs, affected families) organize a variety of events and activities on the occasion of Children’s Hospice Work Day. They include open days at children’s hospices across the country, church services, concerts, exhibitions, discussions, sponsored runs, readings and film screenings, fun activities for children, social media campaigns, and more. 

In addition to attending one of these events, one can observe the day by thanking children’s hospice workers and volunteers for everything they do, showing support by wearing a green ribbon, donating to or volunteering at a children’s hospice, and spreading the word about the observance and advocating for hospice care on social media.

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