Suzanne Gwynn, a registered nurse in Seattle, has worked intensely with children and young adults and their families in oncology and hospice care for over 30 years.
Watching families live with the unimaginable day after day of life-limiting illnesses compelled Suzanne to dream of a safe place for them, beyond the traditional hospital: Ladybug House.
To provide children, adolescents, young adults, and their families respite from the challenges of life-limiting illness.
Our immediate goal is to build Washington's first family-centered respite care home for children, adolescents, and young adults with life-limiting illnesses.
Our Care Philosophy
When a child is diagnosed with a life-limiting illness, we understand that the family’s world is turned upside down. For many, this is the beginning of an emotional journey which is unpredictable and full of challenges. Ladybug House will offer compassionate therapies which include pain management and support services for families’ physical, psychological, social and spiritual needs.
We will establish a family support team which will provide a full range of respite and hospice care services to individuals, couples or families. We believe palliative care can help loved ones make the most of every moment they have together.
Why Ladybug House is needed
At any given moment in the United States, over 565,000 children are within the last six months of their lives.
Many hospitals provide high quality hospice and palliative care. 80% of pediatric deaths occur in hospitals. The Ladybug House would provide quality of life and respite from the sometimes sterile and challenging context of traditional hospital settings.
Ladybug House will provide support to families during the unimaginable in a home full of life, love and respect. We will meet families’ needs as they define them for as long as they need us. We will celebrate every day, every moment, and every life.
What we plan to do
In the United States there are only three palliative care homes for children: George Mark Children’s House in San Leandro, CA, Ryan House in Phoenix, AZ, and Crescent Cove on the outskirts of Minneapolis, MN. In the United Kingdom there are 50+ homes. And, our neighbors in Vancouver, BC finished their second home in Abbotsford, BC 2013.
As a nonprofit, we will offer end-of-life care with no out-of-pocket charges to the families.
Ladybug House will offer families an opportunity to connect and interact with other families experiencing similar circumstances, providing supportive relationships not found elsewhere.
What we will provide
24/7 professional medical care, quality respite and hospice care from the point of diagnosis through recovery or bereavement.
A range of flexible programs and services to meet families’ individual and changing needs.
Access to a team of medical doctors and nurses who specialize in family-centered palliative care.
Child life specialists, bereavement specialists, teachers and other support staff to support the family unit as conditions change.
A network of support for healing and understanding with special support not only for parents, but also for siblings, grandparents and friends as they work through their difficult emotions of loss and grief.
Individual family suites as well as a variety of therapy rooms for music, art and sensory exploration, and even a kennel for pets.
A family style kitchen, staffed with a full-time cook.
Indoor and outdoor areas for meditation and reflection.
A physical therapy area and an interactive, outdoor covered playground.