Childrens' hospices provide specialist respite and terminal care for children suffering from life limiting conditions.
The care is based in a small purpose built unit as well as in the home, enabling families to remain together in peace, comfort, and dignity.
By sharing the child's medical and day-to-day care with qualified professionals, the children and their families are able to spend more quality time together in what may be the concluding moments of the child's life.
Above and beyond everything, children's hospices are places that focus on helping a life-limited child live their life to the full. Medical care and psychological and spiritual support is provided for the child and their family at no cost to them for as long as is necessary, including post bereavement support.
Hospice care treats the child, not the disease; focuses on the family, not the individual; and emphasizes the quality of life, not the duration.
Care and services provided by a hospice
The care provided by a hospice may take the form of regular short stays for the child or for the whole family together. Also, families may just need a short break, which is also a service that hospices can provide. They also provide emergency and end of life care; specialist advice and expertise; practical help and information; and 24-hour telephone support. Hospice care is also free.
The hospice care team
Hospice care relies on the combined knowledge and skill of an interdisciplinary team of professionals, including doctors, nurses, home carers, social workers, counsellors, and volunteers.
Applying for hospice care
The usual route for receiving hospice care is to ask the child's GP or paediatrician to make a referral for hospice care. The two hospices that cover North Yorkshire, Butterwick children's hospice and Martin House children's hospice are available to talk generally to any parent or young person about the services they offer.