Pediatric Palliative Care Program

Gabriel Gomez-Sandoval was like most teenagers energetic and fun-loving. Gabriel’s life was forever changed by a Leukemia diagnosis in his mid-teens, leaving him and his loving family stunned. As Gabriel’s family struggled to help their son battle the disease, Community Hospice supported them through the final journey of his life. Serious illness among children and teens, while rare, continues to devastate families in our community. There are more questions than answers as a child faces illness. Gabriel’s Friends is a pediatric hospice program that strives to make every moment count for families in the Central Valley.

Gabriel’s Friends cares for neonatal infants, babies, toddlers, children and teens with a life-limiting illness. The program provides comfort and support not only to the child but to the family as well, taking a team approach to care.

Community Hospice has specially trained staff to work with infants, children and teens using a supportive, patient-family centered approach. The Gabriel’s Friends team includes: Physician, Registered Nurse, Medical Social Worker, Dietitian and a Chaplain (upon request).

Frequently Asked Questions

Who can refer a patient?
A referral can be made by anyone—family, physician, clinical staff member, clergy, social worker or friend by calling (209) 578-6300.

Are program services covered by insurance?
All children who are appropriate for hospice are accepted into the program. No patient is turned away based on their lack of financial resources to pay for the services. Reimbursement may be sought from Medi-Cal, private health insurance, donations and grants.

Where are services provided?
Children feel most comfortable and secure in their own home and that is where care is most often provided.

Does a patient need to have a ‘Do Not Resuscitate’ (DNR) order to qualify for service?
No; it is the choice of each family as to the medical decisions for their child. Community Hospice supports each individual’s right to choose what they want and provides the education, emotional and spiritual support necessary to make informed decisions.

Does a child need to change doctors in order to receive care from Community Hospice?
The Community Hospice team, including the Medical Director, works closely with the child’s pediatrician or primary care doctor to work out the best possible plan of care.

Can a child go to the hospital for treatment?
Treatment is up to the parents. Community Hospice does not limit family/patient choices.