When a child has a life-limiting or life-threatening condition, the time spent at home – away from hospitals – is precious. It can help to make life feel more like ‘normal’.
Time in hospitals means time apart from siblings, from grandparents, from friends. While hospital visits are vital, they are stressful for everyone, even those not attending.
A children’s hospice at home nurse can be a lifeline to normality for families. Their presence can mean that a family reduces the need for unplanned hospital trips. Nurses can offer advice and guidance can give a family the confidence to handle situations that might have seemed scary. This alone could be the answer to why children’s hospice at home care is so important. But there’s far more to it.
The nursing team gives families access to practical and emotional support that allows parents to process their own emotions and feelings around their child’s illness or condition, and also the feelings of their child, siblings, and wider family. No matter how hard the day or night, there’s always someone that parents can lean on for support.
Leanne Spriggs, Clinical Nurse Specialist at Rennie Grove said:
“The peace of mind we’ve been able to give parents during this last year while they’ve been shielding their vulnerable children has been more important than ever. Our nurses’ specialist help has been able to keep children out of hospital and safely at home with their families and we know that the families we care for have been very grateful for this. Giving our children the best quality of life they can have is what drives us every day and any support you can give the Pepper Foundation to ensure we can continue to provide this care would be very much appreciated.”
Making family moments
But it’s not all just about nursing assistance at home or dealing with problems; the nurses we fund give families the opportunity to experience normal family life. From respite care to accompanying families on day trips to the zoo, the nurses can facilitate family time to be all about fun, all about being together, all about smiling… and nothing to do with hospitals.
There’s more to the service than just nurses. Families also have access to a Play Specialist who helps children make the most of their childhood, prioritising the positive moments, and enhancing the quality of life.
Care provided at no cost to families
This care offered is provided at no cost to families, but the Pepper Foundation relies entirely on donations. Without community support, we may not be able to fund this crucial service. With regular fundraising activities in doubt for 2021, we’re asking our community to sponsor an hour of nursing time.
In 2020 the children’s hospice at home service supported 62 families in Bucks and Herts, providing nursing care for the children, practical advice for parents, and emotional support for siblings and other family members. In the last year, the nursing team provided care day and night, making 738 family visits and 3,607 phone calls.
The nurses we fund are available to families night and day. At £28.50, an hour of specialist care from a children’s hospice at home nurse costs little more than a Saturday night takeaway; but to a family, that hour could provide vital nursing support, give parents some space, or precious time with other family members.