Charter of children's rights

Ogni bambino ha diritto a un aiuto e un'assistenza particolari, che ne garantiscano lo sviluppo fisico, intellettuale e sociale.
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Jesus went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went along with him. As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out—the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her. When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, "Don't cry". Then he went up and touched the bier they were carrying him on, and the bearers stood still. He said, "Young man, I say to you, get up!" The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother..."
Luke 7,  11-17

Article 1
Since their conception, children have right to the highest level of health, to be obtained through the best possible healthcare; children have right to global care. Not only do the Bambino Gesù personnel take care of the Hospital's little patients and their families, but they care for them, combining specialized clinical care with the loving charitableness always aroused by the mystery of children's suffering.

The Hospital is engaged in the promotion of children's health since the prenatal stage - through training and educational events, and assistance during pregnancy and at delivery - and after birth through interventions aimed at health promotion and prevention of accidents and diseases.  

The Hospital ensures that children's stay in the hospital is as short as possible, depending on the disorder to be treated, and privileges, whenever possible, home-based care, one-day observation and day-surgery. The Hospital constantly updates its competences and skills in order to reach and maintain excellence in its clinical, scientific and technical development. 

Article 2
Children have right to continuum of care. The Hospital entrusts each little patient to the care of a reference medical team, who will follow their whole process of care within the hospital and until discharge. 
Moreover, it promotes and maintains collaboration relationships with families and community health structures, in order to ensure continuum of care, especially for chronic patients and for those who need rehabilitation treatment. 

Article 3
Children have right to have their parents or caregivers by their side when in the hospital. The Hospital is committed to fostering and facilitating mother/baby direct and continuous contact in order to favor reciprocal affection. The Hospital always allows, compatibly with clinical and organizational needs, the stay of one parent/caregiver with the child, even in intensive care, or in situations where invasive interventions are needed. 

In cases of child abandonment, or severe family difficulties, children are entrusted to the care of social operators.

Article 4
Children have right to the protection of their physical, psychological and relational development, even in situations for which isolation is necessary. In case of a prolonged stay, the Hospital provides instructional continuity for children who are unable to attend their regular school. 

Play areas and rooms dedicated to patients and their siblings are available in the Hospital. Hospitalized children are allowed to keep their own toys, clothes or any other objects they wish, provided they do not represent a danger or hindrance to their own or other patients' care program.  

Article 5
Children have right to be considered as persons, to be treated with sympathy and understanding, and to the respect of their privacy. The Hospital staff is bound to call the children by their names, and to respect their cultural identity and religious faith. 
Approach to patients is tailored to individual needs of each child and family. The Hospital ensures that children's and families' decency, discretion and privacy are preserved and respected. 

Article 6
Children and their families have the right to be informed appropriately to their age and understanding capabilities. The Hospital personnel inform families and children on health conditions and programmed treatments/procedures using a clear and intelligible language, adequate to the child's age and maturity. To do this it is necessary to dedicate appropriate time and spaces, and use communication modalities and tools tailored to the individual cases, and also including, if appropriate, drawings, tales and play.  

For foreign patients, with poor understanding of Italian, the Hospital provides interpreters and cultural mediators. 

Article 7
Children have the right to be involved in decisions concerning their own diagnosis and treatment. Patients' progressively aware consent/dissent must be seeked for and encouraged, following the age and maturity of the child, and always through family relationships. 

Clinical trials on minors can be done only when it is impossible to conduct the study on adults achieving the same results, and when there is no better alternative treatment. Trials are always subject to parents'/caregivers' informed consent. 

Article 8
Children have the right to undergo the least invasive and painful diagnostic-surgical procedures. The Hospital personnel dedicate the greatest attention to children's suffering, even when unexpressed, adding to their professional skills loving empathy as a testimony of their Faith. 
All staff members are expected to offer human support to children and their families, trying to prevent the onset of suffering, do what it takes to reduce its perception, and help containing fear, anxiety and stress.

The Bambino Gesù Hospital guarantees that children never undergo unnecessary diagnostic procedures or treatments. 

Article 9
Children have the right to be protected from any form of violence, abandonment or physical or moral neglect. The Hospital maintains confidentiality during and after admission. Suspected abuse or neglect, or any other situation of risk are reported to the competent authorities and services. 
The Hospital establishes close collaboration relationships with families, local social services, and religious community services in order to provide global support to children in need. 

Article 10
Children have always the right to healthcare and to the respect of their dignity, even in the terminal stages of illness or in case of death. The Hospital personnel is committed to enabling children and their families to manage the disease as autonomously as possible by providing them with all necessary knowledge and capabilities. The Hospital personnel is committed to always defend life, to provide care for pain relieving in the terminal stage, and to never attempt futile treatments or diagnostic procedures. 

During the terminal stage of life, children have the right to be assisted and accompanied, together with their families, by physicians, nurses, religious persons, and psychologists, who integrate clinical care with deep empathy, love, prayer and faith. The healthcare and religious personnel take care of the families even after the child's death, trying to give them support and new hope in life, with tactful sympathy and respecting their grieving process. 

 

"…and for this very cause adding on your part all diligence, in your faith supply virtue; and in your virtue knowledge; and in your knowledge self-control; and in your self-control patience; and in your patience godliness; and in your godliness brotherly kindness; and in your brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, they make you to be not idle nor unfruitful."
2nd epistle of Peter 1, 5-8

 

Bibliography:
- Vangelo secondo Luca  
- Convention on the Rights of the child – United Nations 1989 
- Charter- for Children in Hospital - The European Association for children in Hospital  (EACH) 1993
- I 14 Diritti del Tribunale per i Diritti del Malato 1995
- Dionigi Tettamanzi – Nuova Bioetica Cristiana, Piemme ed., 2000
- Medical professionalism in the new millennium: a physician charter - Annals of Internal Medicine, 2002,  136: 243- 6
- Physicians' charter and the new professionalism Lancet, 2002, 359 (9322)
Charter for Children in Hospital – Bambino Gesù Hospital, Burlo Garofolo, Gaslini e Meyer 2002