This year, 20th to 26th June marks Children’s Hospice Week.
It’s the only week of the year dedicated to shining a light on the palliative and hospice care services that exist for children with life-limiting illnesses in the UK.
In 2022, the theme of Children’s Hospice Week is #ForTheChildren. And it’s just that: aimed at raising funds for, and awareness of, the challenges faced by the thousands of UK children and their families, with a life-limiting condition.
But the week is also about increasing the visibility of children’s hospice services. About exploring and emphasising the care and support that exist to help those children get the most out of the time they have. To maximise the quality of their lives and be there for their families and carers.
During Children’s Hospice Week 2022, we want to start a conversation around the support structures for children with life-limiting illnesses and their loved ones. And, of course, to put the stories of the brave, remarkable children under our care at the forefront.
So why is it important to talk about children’s hospice care? To incite a two-way dialogue about how crucial services like ours are – not only for caring for the child, but in supporting their families?
The answer is simple – because, right now, most people aren’t talking about children’s hospice care. Many parents are going through life without having these conversations – not because they’re reluctant to confront such a difficult subject matter, but because they haven’t had to.
For these parents, their children haven’t been touched by life-limiting illness. Everything is good, their kids are well, and everyone they know is alive and well. Children’s hospice care’s importance – nay, existence – couldn’t be further from their minds. And, as a result, UK families are going through life without engaging in that discourse around children’s hospice care.
So, what happens when – at some stage or another – that family is touched by life-limiting illness?
Herein lies the importance of talking about children’s hospice care now – raising awareness of who (and what) is involved. Do this, and we can normalise children’s hospice care – stripping away any taboos that exist around it in the process.
So, what services do hospices like ours provide to children with life-limiting illnesses and their families?
Here at ellenor, #ForTheChildren isn’t simply a hashtag – it’s an ethos. We’re one of the only hospices providing acute oncology and end of life care to life-limited children from their own homes. We care for babies, children, and young people of all ages, and offer a transitioning service: helping teenagers seamlessly adapt to an adult care environment.
Our care is around the clock, too. Working together with other providers to ensure access to care and support 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, our clinical nursing staff support care for life-limited children in the space of their choice.
Whether that be the hospice, or their own home within the Dartford, Gravesham, Swanley and Bexley communities.