20% of people do not know what children’s hospices are or what they do

Published: June 16, 2019

This Children’s Hospice Week’s Richard House hopes to raise awareness locally of what children’s hospices mean to seriously ill children and families, to celebrate the vital care they provide and show how they support families.

Richard House is supporting Together for Short Lives Children’s Hospice Week campaign to combat a lack of awareness as revealed by their YouGov survey. The survey found that 20% of people do not know what children’s hospices are or what they do.

Jade Hill, from Dagenham, is mum of Grace who is three and has a rare chromosomal condition meaning she requires extensive 24 hour care, and her five year old brother Archie.  She shared: “I don’t think people realise how important hospices are to local families like mine. We first came to Richard House about eight months ago and we were welcomed with open arms. It came at exactly the right time for us as we had been looking after Grace on our own for the first two years of her life.

“Grace’s condition can make us feel very isolated as a family. We were staring at the same four walls every day, doing the same things to care for her over and over and over again, feeling as though we had no escape. Now Grace receives so much love and care from the staff when she visits the hospice. We know that they are equipped to handle it in the correct way, giving us the peace of mind that allows us to spend some valuable one-on-one time with Archie. We no longer feel isolated.”

It’s hoped that by changing perceptions around children’s hospices that more families caring for seriously ill children will seek help from their local hospice and care staff will see that a children’s hospice is a great place to work.

Libby Basson, Director of Family and Care services at Richard House said: “Our 30 care staff are amazing and families tell us how important they are to them. The staff provide support for 306 local families and delivered 22,745 hours of respite care, supported 70 families who accessed our bereavement services and ran 86 fun activity events for children and families.

“During Children’s Hospice Week we are holding a special afternoon tea for the care staff to thank them for their hard work and commitment. A parent of a life-limited child recently summed it up…’not all heroes wear capes.’”

Vicki Gillingham, senior children’s palliative care nurse, said: “I love working at Richard House because it has a ‘home from home’ feel to it.  It has such a friendly and child centred environment which children really enjoy when they come in for their stay. I work within a marvellous team and feel I make a difference. I think children’s hospices play an essential and integral part in modern healthcare and I am proud to be able to be part of such a vital service.”

Children’s Hospice Week is the only week in the year dedicated to raising awareness and funds for children’s hospice and palliative care services across the UK, and the seriously ill children and young people they support. These services are a lifeline for families when they’re facing the toughest of times, and they can’t continue their vital work without your support.