Children’s Hospice South West (CHSW) is using its expertise in the community to help relieve pressure on the NHS during the coronavirus outbreak.
Care teams at the charity’s three children’s hospices – Charlton Farm near Bristol, Little Bridge House in Barnstaple, and Little Harbour in St Austell – have adapted their day-to-day care provision to help keep vulnerable children out of hospital during the COVID-19 pandemic, ensuring care is provided wherever it is needed most.
The hospices, which support more than 500 children with life-limiting illnesses and their families across the South West, are still offering symptom management and end-of-life care. However, planned respite stays at the hospices have been cancelled, with support being offered over the phone, as well as in children’s own homes.
Now, in addition to the services being provided to families already known to the charity, hospice care teams are working alongside NHS and local care providers to support other vulnerable children and young people, helping to free up essential resources needed to respond to the coronavirus outbreak.
“Working differently, and together on this really is the only way,” said Alli Ryder, CHSW’s Director of Care.
“While we will always prioritise the children and the families that we work with, we are working with the NHS and other care providers to help keep hospital admissions down and ensure that no child or family is left without care.
Our hospice nurses are using their expertise out in the community, for example, providing care directly in the family home if required, or ensuring families have the food supplies they need.
CHSW will also host a hub at each of its hospices where local care professionals can work together to identify gaps in care provision for the region’s most vulnerable children and young people and look at the best services to support them.
“It’s been a huge operational and organisational change but the feel – that social, cultural, family aspect of our care shines through; and our ability to meet the needs of children and families in a compassionate way continues,” added Alli.
“This collaboration builds on the excellent relationships we already have with the NHS and other local providers and it’s been inspiring to see how in these difficult times, organisational boundaries are being put to one side to ensure patient safety is maintained.
“Hopefully, there will be an ongoing positive legacy of this outbreak in terms of a systems approach to meeting local health needs.”
With all of its charity shops now closed and a vast array of fundraising events postponed or cancelled, CHSW is calling on the generosity of its loyal supporters to continue supporting the cause, which needs to raise more than £11million-a-year to be a lifeline to an increasing amount of families.
The charity is asking supporters to ‘Be Incredible’ and do ‘whatever they can, however they can’ to help it to stand with children and local families who rely on its hospices.