As with hospices for adults, the basic principles for children’s hospices have been taken from Great Britain. We have adopted and refined the British concept. The world’s first children’s hospice (Helen House in Oxford, England) has been opened in 1982. Since then more than 50 children’s hospices have been set up and connected in Great Britain.
In 1990, some German families whose children suffered from life-shortening conditions founded the “Deutscher Kinderhospizverein e.V.” (German Children’s Hospice Association). This association offers a nationwide ambulant support from diagnosis of the illness onwards.
When the Deutscher Kinderhospizverein e.V. was founded in 1990, the main purpose was to set up a hospice, adopting the concept of children’s hospices in Great Britain.
However, setting up and running a hospice entails economic risks and thus an experienced head is needed. In 1997, the Deutscher Kinderhospizverein e.V. was pleased to obtain the “Gemeinnützige Gesellschaft der Franzsikanerinnen zu Olpe mbh” (Order of Franciscans) as a partner that made the association’s idea of a hospice become reality. The Order of the Franciscans in Olpe, GFO in short, is a charitable provider and an umbrella association for other institutions supporting children and young adults.
In September 1998, the GFO functioned as provider for setting up the first children’s hospice in Germany – Balthasar children’s hospice.
At the beginning of 2009, the Balthasar young adults’ hospice was opened as the first German hospice for young people, closing a gap between children's and adults' hospices. Due to medical and technical progress, the sick children who died in childhood just a few years ago today become adolescents and young adults.
In Germany, there was no hospice facility for these young people that would meet their special needs in terms of illnesses, psychosocial support or spatial requirements - until the opening of the Balthasar young adult’s hospice.
The institution is, as well as the Balthasar children's hospice, run by the Gemeinnützige Gesellschaft der Franziskanerinnen zu Olpe mbH (GFO).