Home OFFICIAL PARTNER COLUMNISTS Francis House Children's Hospice Francis House Children’s Hospice: Continuing care of young adults

Francis House Children’s Hospice: Continuing care of young adults

Three years after the official opening of Francis Lodge by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, the care of young adults continues to be a vital part of the support offered by Francis House Children’s Hospice.

Three years after the official opening of Francis Lodge by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, the care of young adults continues to be a vital part of the support offered by Francis House Children’s Hospice.

©Francis House Duchess and Duke of Cambridge official opening of Francis Lodge

For more than a decade Francis House Children’s Hospice has led the way in the children’s hospice movement by recognising the specific needs of the older children in its care.
Like only a handful of other children’s hospices, there is no upper age limit at Francis House.

This means that the young people with life-limiting conditions, can continue to be looked after, and access all the services available to them, until either they choose not to, or until they come to the end of their lives.

The alternative, to move or ‘transition’ them to adult services, can cause a great deal of uncertainty for the young people and their families.  Lasting friendships are made over many years, and trust built up with a care team who understand the needs of the whole family.

Fiona Southam parent at Francis House

Reassurance

Among the parents who consider Francis House to be part of her extended family, is Fiona Southam.

Fiona’s son, Mickie, has a progressive metabolic disease that affects his brain and muscles – but also makes him hyperactive. His parents are on constant alert and the family have been coming to the hospice for nearly fifteen years.

Fiona said:

“My biggest fear when Mickie was coming up to eighteen years of age, was that the support would stop, but the staff reassured me, that once you are under the care of Francis House, you remain under their care.”

Age-appropriate

In October 2016, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge officially opened Francis Lodge. A seven bedroomed extension at Francis House costing £3.5 million to build and equipped with a large communal kitchen and lounge, multi-sensory and creative therapy rooms, en-suite bathrooms as well as a state-of-the-art cinema pod.

The Lodge started out as a four-bedroom house, opened in 2010, and provided a unique opportunity to involve the young people in the development of the new wing and care services.

©Francis House Duchess of Cambridge at the opening of Francis Lodge Oct 2016

Three years since the official royal opening, respite care is now provided to more than 155 young people over the age of 16, with different care and emotional needs. It has become a place where teenagers and young people can relax, make friends and enjoy some independence with others their own age.

Fiona added:

“Now Mickie is a young adult, he enjoys staying in Francis Lodge. It is so important to us as a family, to know that the support will be there for as long as we need it, following the expansion of hospice services – including the recruitment of more nurses and the development of emotional and bereavement support – annual running costs reach £4.7 million.

Less than 12% of income comes from central Government. For more information on Francis House visit www.francishouse.org.uk