The child's illness plunges parents into
a strange and confusing new life of medical concerns. Repeated
trips to the hospital for days or weeks at a time typically
means one parent quitting their job. They worry about how
the child will get over the next hurdle. Brothers and sisters
often feel left out as the parents struggle to support their
child in the hospital while maintaining routines at home.
Almost Home allows families to stay together during these
times of stress. Almost Home offers a number of small areas
where parents can talk with other parents who are facing the
same trials and worries.
Each month, Kingston General Hospital and
Hotel Dieu Hospital provide treatment for about 100 children
with serious, complex, or chronic medical problems.
On average, these children must stay in
hospital for 26 days per year. Many must wait months or even
years before knowing the comfort and security of home.
Until "going home day" families
have plenty of worries... the recovery of their child is foremost
of course, but there's also the strain of bedside "shifts",
finding and paying for meals in an unfamiliar city, costs
for parking and gas, loss of income, exhaustion, child care
for siblings, disruption of family life, divisive pressures
on marriages, and serious psychological strain on siblings.
Almost Home will help ease these intense
Coordinating the support services and operating a large home,
requires time and money. Approximately $280,000 per year is
Almost Home is helped by volunteers who
contribute hundreds of hours per week in housekeeping, management,
programme planning, fundraising and board work. The families
who stay at Almost Home contribute by cleaning, laundering
their own linen, supporting other families and other household
Almost Home does not receive provincial
or federal government funds to operate.
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