George Mark Children's House
George Mark Children’s House (GMCH) is a nonprofit organization that provides life-affirming care for children with illnesses that health care cannot yet cure, or for those with chronic medical conditions. We bridge the gap between hospital and home, offering safe, excellent medical care in the comfort and warmth of a home-like setting for patients who do not need the resources of a full children’s hospital. Located in the San Francisco Bay Area, GMCH is the first stand alone pediatric palliative care center in the United States. Since its opening in 2004, GMCH has been a leader in relieving the pain, symptoms, and stress of illness benefiting a range of pediatric patients. Two other similar houses have opened in the US, namely Ryan House in Phoenix, Arizona and Crescent Cover outside Minneapolis, Minnesota and 20 more are in various stages of development.
At George Mark Children’s House we offer four primary types of services:
George Mark provides a safe, nurturing place for parents and primary caregivers of children with serious illness to bring their child for short-term care. By providing caregivers with temporary respite, George Mark supports the health of the primary caregiver as well as the well-being of the entire family. Respite care at George Mark also provides positive experiences for child patients by supporting them to engage independently of their families with George Mark staff and volunteers and other patients.
Transitional care facilitates an easier move between hospital and home, helping parents and caregivers gain more confidence about caring for their child. A transitional stay results in reduced stress, fewer emergency room visits, and fewer and shorter hospital stays. Our medical staff is available 24/7 to help parents and caregivers learn the appropriate safe care of their child, at their own speed, in a warm and supportive home-like setting. This support helps parents feel more confident about caring for their child and managing issues that arise when they return home. Transitional care can also help a child get ready for a medical procedure. Children have been referred to George Mark to achieve the necessary compliance and readiness for medical treatments.
End of Life Care
For children nearing the end of life, George Mark provides palliative care to minimize their pain and provides their families and loved ones with emotional, spiritual and practical support during a profoundly challenging time. We provide the resources and support that families need at this time, in a supportive and peaceful environment. Families and friends can gather together without restriction. We honor and respect each family’s cultural traditions and care choices. Our counseling provides assistance to the entire family throughout a child’s illness and beyond.
Complementing our three core programs above, Perinatal Counseling provides expertise, resources, support and information for women with at-risk preterm births about the prognosis and prospective complications, thus establishing continuity of care for infants and parents.
Additional GMCH services include a therapeutic Palliative Aquatic Program, providing our patients with significant relaxation and relief from pain and discomfort; a range of engaging, developmentally appropriate Child Life activities, for therapeutic and recreational purposes for both GMCH patients and their siblings; and Psychosocial and Bereavement Support services for family members, to promote healthy coping and resiliency for the entire family throughout this highly stressful time.
To learn more about George Mark’s commitment to care, please see:
Our latest video - http://tinyurl.com/onanygivenday
GMCH’s Founder, Dr. Kathy Hull’s TED Talk - www.tinyurl.com/kathyhull