The Hope Children’s Hospice provides free specialist care for children with life-limiting conditions who are not expected to live into adulthood. It cares for up to eight terminally- ill children at one time, and aims to care for them in the same way their families would care for them at home. When families prefer to do the caring themselves, a hospice carer will go to their home and help them.
B Life-limiting conditions present many long-term medical and emotional problems – not only for the child, but for parents and siblings too. So the hospice offers respite care – short stays for the child alone or for the whole family together. At these times, parents hand over responsibilities to the staff and have a ‘holiday’. Short stays give terminally-ill children an opportunity to meet others with similar conditions.
C Each child at the hospice has their own carer and their own care plan. A normal day might start with ajacuzzi bath followed by a massage from a complementary therapist. Some children go to school, while others play with hospice play specialists.
D The hospice has a multi-sensory room. This is a special room which stimulates the children’s senses with lights, music, touch, and smell. It has touch-screen computers, video games, paddling pools, and space for wheelchair dancing. Children have music therapy and can record their own music, not only as a way to express their feelings, but to leave something for their family and friends to listen to in the years to come.
E The hospice has a number of quiet rooms where we care for children during and after death. These are places where families and friends can say goodbye. Our support does not end with death. We help not just grieving parents, but also siblings who are experiencing bereavement. We give everyone opportunities to discuss their fears about death and dying.