Sunday, 14 April 2024
Sunday, 14 April 2024

Hospice in the Weald for Children launches to lighten the load for families

MORE help is at hand for children and young people with life-threatening and life-limiting illness and their families in Kent and East Sussex with the launch of Hospice in the Weald for Children.

Known for providing outstanding care for terminally ill adults and their loved ones, Hospice in the Weald has now, for the first time, extended this to include care for children.

Whether it’s help with nursing care, practical support or emotional support such as counselling and bereavement therapy, the Hospice’s specialist Children’s team is here to ease the strain for the whole family, including siblings.

Nick Farthing, Hospice in the Weald’s Chief Executive, said:

“We are delighted Hospice in the Weald for Children is now up and running. With advances in technology and care, children and young people are living longer than previously. This puts strain on the limited resources available and on families. We are here to offer greater choice and availability for families in the area and want to work collaboratively with other providers to make a difference in the lives of those who need us most.”

Tracy Smith, who heads the Hospice’s Children’s Service and who has been a paediatric nurse for more than 20 years, said:

“We are delighted to now have home visits underway and are enjoying getting to know some of the amazing children and their families in our community.

“We are here to offer respite care to families, so children can stay in the comfort of their own homes. To ensure children can be children, we have an array of specialist and sensory toys and activities to help each child have fun and make memories.”

Counselling support is also available for siblings and the whole family to help them cope with the emotional impact of their child’s diagnosis.

Tracy explained the impact of caring for a child with a life-threatening or life-limiting illness:

“Families need respite so that parents or carers have some breathing space to cope. A few hours just to do some shopping, spend time with another sibling, or to be able to do something as a couple, can make the world of difference to a parent who is otherwise caring for their child around the clock. Being able to become ‘mum’ or ‘dad’ and not ‘carer’ even for a few hours can help parents regain a sense of identity.

“We are welcoming referrals as we fully establish our new service and are happy to speak to families who may wish to find out if we can support them.”

With home visits underway, plans for a dedicated Children’s Centre at the Pembury hospice are also being developed. Fully equipped with sensory equipment and activities, a wet room and a dedicated entrance for children and young people, the Centre will also provide a space for families to meet others in similar situations and have a much-deserved break.

Families can ask their health professional to be referred to Hospice in the Weald for Children or can refer themselves. Visit the Children’s section of hospiceintheweald.org.uk for full contact details and a referral form.

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