Introducing LauraLynn Ireland’s Children’s Hospice

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LauraLynn Ireland’s Children’s Hospice, opened its doors as Ireland’s first children’s Hospice in September 2011. LauraLynn is built on the Dublin site of the Children’s Sunshine Home (CSH) an organisation that has been in operation since 1925. This organisation played a key role in providing health services for children and has evolved over the years to meet the changing requirements of children with life-limiting conditions. The Children’s Sunshine Home Hospice Project began in 2005 to address the wider needs of Irish children requiring palliative care. At the same time the LauraLynn Hospice Foundation was fundraising towards a similar goal. In 2006 both entities came together under the governance of the Children’s Sunshine Home to build Ireland’s first children’s hospice – the result being LauraLynn House.

The landmark development and opening of LauraLynn House in 2011 on the grounds of the Children’s Sunshine Home was the beginning of a journey for greater development of palliative care services for children. The publication of the Irish Policy in 2010 ‘Palliative Care for Children with Life-Limiting Conditions in Ireland’ – A National Policy (DOH&C), subsequently provided a national foundation upon which children’s palliative care services should be developed. Importantly for LauraLynn, this blueprint document clearly articulated the need to provide services that meet the needs of the child and family and recommends the development of services close to the child’s family home. Furthermore the report highlights the importance of ensuring that care is provided by staff with the necessary skills and competencies and includes the need for both in-home and out-of-home respite/end of life care services for this population.

LauraLynn aspires to further develop professional capacity and expertise in relation to the area of children’s palliative care and aims to respond to the needs of children and their families. The values inherent in the organisation are strong and the vision statement ‘All children who need us can access us’, encourages further exploration into equality and access so that all children with life-limiting conditions and their families from anywhere in Ireland can have services available to them close to their home.

National Children’s Hospice Programme
In April 2012, LauraLynn launched its National Children’s Hospice Programme, which sets out an ambitious plan to ensure that children can access our services from anywhere in Ireland. In response to the needs of the children and their families, LauraLynn intends to develop several new dimensions to the service to include specialist day respite care, out-patient child and family clinics, hospice and respite at home programmes. In recognition of parents as primary carers, service-user consultation is a significant aspect of our organisational review. 

Since opening in 2011 LauraLynn, Ireland’s Children’s Hospice has seen a notable increase in the number of children from all over Ireland making use of the available services. The range and complexities of diagnoses has increased and the admission criteria have been refined to admit children with life-limiting Conditions within the four ACT Categories (ACT 2009). We now care for children with a wide range of malignant and non-malignant conditions – providing respite, transitional care, symptom assessment and end-of-life care. 

First Collaborative Conference
LauraLynn, Ireland’s Children’s Hospice is a partner in Ireland’s first Irish Collaborative Conference for Children’s Palliative Care from 29 – 30 November 2013. 

Should you wish to learn more, please contact Claire Quinn at

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