Antonio J. Acosta-Rua, PhD
With many supporters, friends and staff on hand, La Fundación Pro-Unidad Cuidado Paliativo, a Costa Rican pediatric hospice organization, proudly inaugurated Casa San Miguel Arcángel, the first inpatient pediatric hospice facility in Latin America. Casa San Miguel Arcángel, situated in Vista de Mar a small community in the mountains just a few kilometers north of San Jose, will provide a peaceful setting for terminally-ill children in the final phase of their lives. As the third expansion project for La Fundación, Casa San Miguel Arcángel consists of three primary structures: a chapel, an on-site residence for medical staff, and a fully-equipped inpatient facility with accommodations for up-to three patients and their families. While it is usually preferred that terminally-ill children spend their last days in familiar surroundings like home, Casa San Miguel Arcángel will provide a comfortable environment for those children whose home is not a suitable option.
With its colorfully designed home-like setting and beautifully landscaped gardens, Casa San Miguel Arcángel and its staff strive to help these children enjoy their life until the very last moment. This is done by managing the patient’s symptoms and pain in order to improve the quality-of-life while also providing a cheerful and comfortable environment in which to die peacefully.
“Though we know that many children will eventually die here, Casa San Miguel Arcángel is a place to celebrate life. Our goal… our duty is to assist these little angels and their families enjoy every last second of life that God has given.” María de los Ángeles Arce, President of La Fundación Pro-Unidad Cuidado Paliativo de Costa Rica.
La Fundación Pro-Unidad Cuidado Paliativo is the only pediatric hospice organization in all of Costa Rica. Founded in 1992, their mission has been to teach parents how to properly care for their sick children as well as to provide a comfortable environment for dying children and their families. The organization’s goal is not to heal but to manage pain and other symptoms thus improving the quality of life of terminally-ill children. The organization, in spite of having very limited financial resources, has cared for thousands of children and their families throughout Costa Rica.
In November of 2000, through the leadership of Dr. Lisbeth Quesada, the foundation was able to open its first permanent facility the Saint Gabriel Shelter which complemented their home-visit program. Saint Gabriel Shelter located in downtown San Jose is an intermediate place between home and the hospital for terminally-ill children and for those with life-limiting diseases. This day shelter allows parents to get a much needed respite while their children are receiving needed medical attention and being properly supervised.
In February of 2007, La Fundación inaugurated their first expansion project La Clínica de Cuidados Paliativos Dr. Gastón Acosta-Rua in Perez-Zeledón, the hard to reach southern region of Costa Rica. Like the Saint Gabriel Shelter, La Clínica de Cuidados Paliativos Dr. Gastón Acosta-Rua serves as a day shelter for families with terminally-ill children and their families. Additionally, this facility serves as a satellite base of operations for the in-home patient care teams that can now help children and their families as far south as the Panama border.
Though Casa San Miguel Arcángel was made possible through the help, assistance, and hard work of many people, La Fundación would like to give special recognition and appreciation to:
– Glenn Richmond and the Granera-Vincent family for their generous donation of the land upon which the facility resides
– Lila Moffat, for her donation of land in support of this project
– Acosta-Rua Family Foundation, for their annual support generated through its fund-raising event “A Sunset in Costa Rica” as well as for their support in opening both the Shelter Dr. Gastón Acosta-Rua in Perez-Zeledón and Casa San Miguel Arcángel
– Our many friends in Jacksonville, Florida for their yearly support
– The Diplomatic Dames of Costa Rica for their generous donations of medical equipment both to Casa San Miguel Arcángel and to the Shelter San Gabriel
– The Señora Costa Rica organization for their annual support through its yearly pageant
– Each and every Costa Rican person, company and institution who has very generously help this foundation both with time and financial support via the foundations many campaigns and projects
Should you wish to contribute to or learn more about La Fundación Pro-Unidad Cuidado Paliativo de Costa Rica please contact us at: [email protected]