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Hannah’s Story – a teen in hospice

Balancing emotions and finding expressive outlets can be especially difficult during cancer treatment. Seventeen-year-old Hannah Viens is acutely aware of this challenge. “I struggle with emotions, sometimes they can go from one to the next really quickly,” she shares. “My faith helps me deal with those struggles.”

In 2014, a CT scan revealed a tumor on the back of Hannah’s head. Her family was stunned. “It was like a punch in the gut,” her dad Jim explains. “It knocks the wind out of you. You really don’t know what to think at that point, that your child might not make it.”
After years of treatment, Hannah made the decision to leave the hospital and receive hospice care at home through Kansas City Hospice & Palliative Care’s Carousel program. Carousel is the Kansas City area’s leading pediatric hospice, offering a dedicated multidisciplinary team trained and focused on children’s unique end-of-life needs.

Carousel provides expert care and ensures the physical, spiritual, and emotional needs of young people and their families are met. Social workers and volunteers provide expressive outlets through art, music, and play therapy. The goal is to make the most of the time a child has and support their family along the way.

The option for Kansas City Hospice to bring Carousel services to Hannah’s family home was invaluable. “It’s kept things here at home and takes away a lot of the stress of hospital and clinic visits,” Jim shares. “We are really comfortable in our own house,” Hannah’s mom Kim adds, “they can go to Hannah’s room or the living room to hang out and it tends to be relaxed.”

Hannah enjoys spending time at home with her Carousel expressive therapies volunteer creating art, knitting, and baking cookies, as well as visiting with her nurse Cori Jones. “When they come over and we talk, it gives me a different perspective on what I am doing,” Hannah says. “Especially art therapy. It really helps to get my mind off things.”

“Carousel helps people achieve their goals at the end of life,” Cori explains. In addition to addressing physical symptoms, Hannah’s team talks with her about social and emotional needs and helps her complete some of her “bucket list” items.

For the Viens family this has included coordinating hospice care in Arizona to make it possible for Hannah to visit family and see the Grand Canyon. “My family is really important to me,” Hannah explains.

Hannah’s advice for others in her situation is to, “Just live each day and try not to think about things that could happen or are happening. Enjoy each day.”

UPDATE SEPTEMBER 2020:

Hannah was released from Hospice in May 2019. She had surgery and was then was tumor free. Then in January 2020, a new growth was found and went back hospice in June 2020. Due to COVID-19, extra visitors and art therapy are on hold.

The Carousel Pediatric Team at Kansas City Hospice meets some pretty spectacular young people, like Hannah, a teen needing hospice care. Watch her story.

 

Carousel cares for 70 to 100 kiddos each year, from babies through young adults. This team consists of pediatric physicians, nurses, CNAs, social workers, chaplains, art and music therapists. They tend to the needs of the whole family, making sure that parents and siblings have the emotional and spiritual support they need.

Mustache Month for Carousel is a social media FUN-raiser that raises funds needed to make sure each child in Kansas City receives expert care, regardless of the family’s financial situation. Join us!

SEE THE MUSTACHE MAKERS AND FAKERS AND DONATE NOW!

About Us

 
The mission of Kansas City Hospice & Palliative Care is to bring expert care, peace of mind, comfort, guidance, and hope to people who are affected by life-limiting illness or by grief. Our vision is that each person in our community is valued from life through death and each family is supported in their grief.

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Our Programs

There's a long list of hospices in Kansas City, but there's only one Kansas City Hospice. Our programs provide comprehensive expert care for all ages at all stages of serious illness.

Hospice Care

When the focus shifts to comfort instead of treatment, care comes to your home or nursing facility with a plan tailored to your needs, including emotional and spiritual support for the whole family.

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Hospice Care

Palliative Home Health Care

When complex needs benefit from a team approach, supportive home care brings the care you need, with 24/7 nurse support for pain, stress and symptoms due to serious illness.

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Palliative Home Health Care

Advanced Illness Support

Beginning as early as diagnosis and at any stage of serious illness, our nurse practitioners make home visits as needed to help coordinate your care and provide expert pain and symptom management.

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Advanced Illness Support
Hospice House

Hospice House

When symptoms cannot be easily managed at home, two hospice houses provide 24/7 expert care in comfortable home-line settings where family members can be relieved of caregiving duties to focus on loved ones.

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Carousel Pediatric Care

Carousel provides palliative and hospice care for perinatal and for babies through young adults with a dedicated team of pediatric nurses, social workers, chaplains and other specialists.

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Carousel Pediatric Care
Solace House

Solace House

Our center for grief and healing supports individuals and families who have been impacted by the death of a loved one, whether anticipated, or sudden and unexpected. We provide opportunities to share, listen, learn and heal with peer group support from age 3 through adult.

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