Sunshine Program – Pediatric Patients

Sunshine-Program-Logo-PNGA children’s hospice is not somewhere children go to die.  It is far more complex than that. It is an unfortunate fact that some children are born with life-limiting conditions, or develop one in the early years.  The doctors tell a family that their child is not expected to survive; however, predicting how long they will be with family is very difficult.  Children who are not expected to reach adulthood are appropriate for admission into the Sunshine Palliative and Hospice Program.

Hospice does not mean you are giving up on your child.  Hospice does not mean there is no hope.  It is a special kind of caring that helps you provide the best possible care for your child in your home where your child feels safe and loved.  Home is a place where you have total control in the method of care for your child.

When should the Sunshine Program begin?


It should start at the time of diagnosis – Early intervention is essential to promote your child’s comfort, as well as to provide spiritual and emotional support to your child and family.

Will my child continue to see the same doctor?  Yes, your child will continue to be treated as before, with addition of the expertise of the pediatric team to assist with pain and symptom control, psycho-social and spiritual needs.

father and son on stairs istock_000013833077medium copyCan my child attend school?  Yes, we encourage the child and family to continue activities (school, vacations, etc.) to promote quality of life.

How do we get started in the Sunshine Program?  A written order / referral or physician phone call is all that is needed to be evaluated for the Sunshine Program.

How is the Sunshine Program paid for?  Medicaid, private pay insurance, donations and grants fund the program.  No child is turned away for inability to pay for services.

CHILD-1-1700The Sunshine Program team includes the primary care physician, patient, parents and family, pediatric nurses, the hospice medical director, social worker, child life specialists, chaplain, certified nurse’s aides, pharmacist, medical equipment supplier, and volunteers.

Benefits of the Sunshine Program


  • Everyone works together to provide the best care possible.
  • Comfort care which involves pain relief and symptom control.
  • Quality of life, such as making it possible for the child to attend school if able, and give the family the freedom to take vacations or schedule special trips to make the best of the time they have together.
  • Assessing the need for specialized equipment, supplies and medications needed so the child is able to remain in the home.
  • Supporting the child and family during the illness and after the child’s death.
  • Meeting the spiritual needs of the child and family.
  • Educating the family on death and dying issues.
  • Offering resources for further assistance when needed.
  • Providing and preparing for a peaceful home death surrounded by family.
Which program is best for my child / patient?
Hospice Program
  • Age 0-21 years
  • Diagnosed with life-threatening limiting illness
  • Prognosis of less than 5 months
  • Would benefit from pain and symptom control
  • Receiving palliative treatments for comfort and quality of life
  • Would benefit from psycho-social and spiritual support
Palliative Program


  • Age 0-21 years
  • Diagnosed with life-threatening limiting illness
  • Prognosis greater than 6 months
  • Diagnosed with a severe chronic debilitating disease or condition
  • Would benefit from pain and symptom control
  • Receiving aggressive treatment aimed at cure / remission
  • Would benefit from psycho-social and spiritual support

The Sunshine Program provides 24-hour on-call assistance for questions and concerns.