The transition from child to adult palliative care services can often be a difficult process for young people with life-limiting or life-threatening conditions. Many children’s hospices often do not have the capacity to care for young adults. As a result many of these young people are left alone, without a suitable place to go for help, and their carers and family often miss out on the much needed respite that a hospice can provide.
The Donna Louise Children’s Hospice in Trentham, England, is dedicated to bridging this gap and ensure young people in the area receive the necessary palliative care. The hospice currently offers palliative care to children up until the age of 19. Dorothy Gillespie, Director of Care Services at the hospice trust, is working on ‘bridging the gap’ and offering palliative care to those young people that are between children and adult palliative care services. “At the moment there is very little end-of-life support for those who are aged 19 and over. It has to be difficult for the parents as they don’t get breaks, respite or emotional support. That is why from now we will not be discharging people when they reach the age of 19, who are currently with us, up until they don’t need us anymore,” said Gillespie. The hospice has big plans but they are still in the very early stages of development. Gillespie has started focus groups to ensure that the services offered meet the young people’s needs, especially socially. “Going to a pub or café can be tricky for people because of their needs. But from what I know they would love to be able to get together,” said Gillespie. Gillespie is excited about the upcoming developments. Click here, to read the full article.