Liam’s Room was conceived by the McNamara’s because of their experience in caring for their son. They visited the hospital numerous times and learned of the benefits of palliative care long after it should have been implemented. It is due to their learning about the various components of palliative care as well as determining that a more home like setting would provide additional comfort to families whose child was battling such an illness that Liam’s Room was born. Spending countless hours in a cold, sterile hospital room just magnifies the reality of having a sick child. Liam’s Room provides the amenities to function as a family, even if the setting is in a hospital room: whether it be through the ability to sleep in the room with their child, play video games together or enjoy a mural painted on the walls. While doctors and caregivers are taught to treat the symptoms of a child’s illness, it is the treatment of the entire family that defines good care. Spending time in and out of the hospital can create an extreme amount of stress on a family. The mission of Liam’s Room is to assist in alleviating that stress.
The World Health Organization defines pediatric palliative care as follows: Palliative care for children is the active total care of the child’s body, mind and spirit, and also involves giving support to the family. It begins when illness is diagnosed, and continues regardless of whether or not a child receives treatment directed at the disease. Effective palliative care requires a broad multidisciplinary approach that includes the family and makes use of available community resources.
Unfortunately, more and more children are faced with such battles. Often it goes unnoticed that there are a large number of children in our own community that suffer through chronic asthma, respiratory issues, physical disabilities, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, neurological conditions, cancers, cystic fibrosis, spina bifida, blood disorders, immunodeficiency disorders, and a myriad of diseases that require multiple hospitalizations. Children with these conditions, and their families, spend time in and out of the hospital for various reasons. As sad as this fact is, the hospital becomes a home away from home for these individuals, but the hospital environment is far from the place of comfort that these families need in the midst of the challenges they are facing. Having a room designated as their own, with pleasing and familiar décor, and a staff dedicated to promoting pediatric palliative care, will enhance the families ability to care for their child in the best possible way. Liam’s Room is the first of its kind in our area, and hopes to provide the necessary support and space to those families in our community faced with such struggles.
The first Liam’s Room opened on May 15, 2009, at Overlook Medical Center in Summit, NJ. In the three years that it has been open, we have continuously been reminded by the families using Liam’s Room that pediatric palliative care, in all of its components, is crucial to providing comprehensive medical care for children with chronic, complex and potentially life limiting illnesses. It is because of the special care that those families have received that Liam’s Room Inc. looks to the future with plans to build additional rooms in area hospitals as well as educate staff on the proper implementation of pediatric palliative care. We hope that you will consider making a donation so that we can continue to enhance the lives of families whose child is struggling with a chronic, potentially life limiting illness.