Comfort Capsules help families of terminally ill children build and treasure memories

Categories: Care.

Comfort Capsules contain practical equipment to help families maximise the time they have left with their child and create enduring memories.

The Comfort Capsules have been designed in partnership with palliative care nurses to be complementary to existing community-based palliative care and bereavement support.

Carrick Brown, services manager for Newlife’s equipment loan services, explains: “Newlife Foundation have a long history of working with palliative care professionals to address the urgent needs of terminally ill children.

“Our helpline nurses often hear that families struggle to find time to build precious memories of their child because of the pressures of meeting medical needs. We hope to provide practical resources which re-emphasise the importance of quality of life experiences and address emotional needs, while subsequently supporting the family through their bereavement.”

Each Comfort Capsule contains age and culturally sensitive resources, which families can hold onto for as long as they need.

The supply, delivery and collection are completely free. Some items will remain with the family when the capsule is no longer needed, while other items can be returned with the Capsule. This means that when it is no longer needed the Capsule can be assessed, serviced, clinically cleaned and refurbished – ready to loan to another family.

“The Capsule contains items that will be of immense support to the whole family – it does feel like there is something for every family member in the Capsule,” explains Carolyn Bishop, a palliative care nurse who supported the development of the service. “The Capsules contains all the items I have purchased at some point over the past few years.”

Describing the contents of the Capsule, Carolyn adds: “V-pillows and soft cuddly blankets are non-medical, child friendly and do not look out of place in a child’s home. On occasions the v pillows have been used to support mums and dads and keep them comfortable while holding their child in their arms for long periods of time. The soft blanket adds comfort and softness to leather sofas.

“The importance of creating memories throughout this time cannot be underestimated in helping and supporting families through their grief after their child has died. The memory box, camera and digital photo frame will benefit families who do not have access to these items.”

As this particular service requires support from a healthcare professional involved in addressing the child’s palliative needs, requests for a Comfort Capsule must be made by a healthcare professional on behalf of a family.

As the service is currently in a pilot phase, the initial number of Comfort Capsules is limited, but you can register your interest by contacting Newlife.

If you know of a family who could benefit from a Comfort Capsule, or you would like to receive more information about these palliative care resources, please contact the Newlife nurses on 0800 902 0095 or 01543 468 400 or email nurse@newlifecharity.co.uk You can also find out more about Newlife and the range of services they offer on their website: www.newlifecharity.co.uk

Carolyn has big dreams for the service: “I would like to think that, in time, professionals who are privileged enough to support children and their families through end of life care will request a comfort capsule as a matter of course and the request becomes embedded in the care of all children and young people.”