Easing the Financial Burden of Families

The Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital provides over 650,000 outpatient visits, 17,000 hospital admissions, 10,000 surgeries, and accepts over 1,400 hospital transfers per year. Their website states, “At Cleveland Clinic Children’s, we put kids and families first. Because we understand that children and their parents deserve – and in fact, require – an extra dose of compassion.”

The National Philoptochos Society awarded Cleveland Clinic’s “Caring for Kids – Support for families of children with blood disorders and cancer” program a $20,000 grant at the National Philoptochos Children’s Medical Fund Luncheon on October 12, 2013 in Pittsburgh, PA.

As Alex Calabrese from Cleveland Clinic explains, “The need for the ‘Caring for Kids- Support for families of children with blood disorders and cancer program has always been present, but was recognized and moved into action by a Cleveland Clinic Children's Pediatric Operating Room Service Assistant. One of her dear friends had a child who was hospitalized here at Cleveland Clinic Children's for a blood disorder. Through that experience she realized the added financial burdens that arise with having a child in the hospital, expenses such as parking, child care for siblings, and other day to day needs which add up quite quickly when you are coming to the hospital day after day to be with your child. The idea of the fund is to support the families of these patients and ease some of the hardship that an illness places upon a family. The fund pays for meals, parking and other transportation needs, hotel vouchers, gas cards, etc. It helps hundreds of families who travel far and wide to bring their children to Cleveland Clinic Children's Hematology/Oncology/BMT department that need assistance to pay for hospital stay related out of pocket expenses.”

One of the many things the program helps with is providing parking passes so parents have one last expense to think about when they are making multiple visits per week. As one family stated, “We need to come for at least three appointments a week. There is no way I can come up with that kind of money. The parking passes really help.”  The program offers one less thing that parents must think about so they can focus on their children’s treatment and not on how they are going to pay the bills.

“The financial burden of childhood cancer and the profound emotional stressors that are associated with this diagnosis can stretch families beyond their limits. The economic hardship that this diagnosis brings can have long-term effects on the entire family unit regarding their quality of life. With help from generous donors, such as Philoptochos, our family’s financial burden can be reduced. It truly takes a ‘village’ to help a family in need,” said Denise K. Hagen, MSSA, C-SWHC, LISW-S, from Cleveland Clinic’s Social Work/Care Management Department.

-Vivian Siempos