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Wednesday, 2 December 2020

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New lifeline Live Chat to support isolated families caring for seriously ill children

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FAMILIES desperately worried about Covid-19 and their terminally ill child, and who require support to navigate the world of children’s palliative care, can now benefit from the launch of online live chat service, run by Together for Short Lives, the UK charity for seriously ill children and their families. The live chat service will help the charity reach more families, caring for the growing number of seriously ill babies and children.  

Along with reaching more families, the launch of a new live chat service is in response to a study released in the midst of lockdown which uncovered that 93% of families have felt isolated during the pandemic, struggling with their new reality of caring 24/7 for their child without their usual lifeline support from care professionals and their extended family. One Mum said: “Covid 19 has made an already difficult, isolating situation considerably harder.”

The online live chat is an extension to the charity’s family helpline, run by friendly and professional staff who are on hand to support parents and carers with the daily struggles of caring for a child with complex medical needs. Expert support is now one click away and puts families in direct contact with someone who can help, giving space to explore their needs. Making a phone call can be really daunting for families caring for children who will die young, so the live chat option gives them a digital place to open up more anonymously.

The online chat is available on the charity’s website www.togetherforshortlives.org.uk and is open 10 am – 4 pm, Monday to Friday.

“Webchat will really make things easier for families like mine, giving families anonymity and flexibility to contact Together for Short Lives in a way that suits them best,” said Kristi, Mum of a child with a life-limiting condition.

Parents and carers might contact the charity to chat about:

  • Issues relating to their child’s condition
  • Legal advice and support
  • Financial struggles and difficulties
  • General issues when caring for a child with complex needs

Lizzie Chambers, Director of Programmes at Together for Short Lives said: “Our new live chat service will help us reach more and more families, and vitally, will enable families struggling to talk about their child’s diagnosis to open up and start having a digital conversation in a way that feels comfortable. Making a call can sometimes feel overwhelming. Our online chat gives families a choice in how they seek help. We know that life is so hard for families right now, and we hope that this online service will make life a little easier for families when they are trying to reach somebody for support. We are here if they need us.”

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