Children’s hospice charities join forces to help more families access home care

Categories: Care.

Shooting Star Chase provides support for children with life-limiting conditions and their families in London and Surrey – right from diagnosis to end of life and throughout bereavement with a range of nursing, practical, emotional and medical care.

Providing flexible care in the family home is a big part of what we do and our hospice at home service has been successfully running for 15 years; proving to be invaluable to countless children and their families in our catchment area.

Families are allocated a nurse and carer who visit the family home to meet their specific care needs – which can be anything from caring for a child so the parents can simply sleep or go out, assisting a family when attending hospital visits, providing support during an emergency or  care at the end of a child’s life.

Request for help

Chris Robinson, CEO of neighbouring children’s hospice charity Naomi House and Jacksplace, approached Shooting Star Chase in July 2013 and asked us to help them explore setting up a similar service across the central south of England after recognising a growing need for more children and families in their area to receive support at home.

As director of care at Shooting Star Chase, I was excited to take on this innovative partnership and it made perfect sense for Naomi House to draw on the experiences of another hospice to develop a successful and cost-effective service for families in the area they serve.

How will the partnership work?

After agreeing to the partnership we set about looking at the how the project would work.

Together we identified around 20 families living in north Hampshire who were accessing either our Guildford-based hospice, Christopher’s, or Naomi House near Winchester for hospice short breaks but could not access hospice at home support because they weren’t in that particular service’s catchment area.

It was decided that these families, who were missing out on care at home because of their location, but were known to either charity, would be a good starting point for Naomi House’s hospice at home service.

Through further discussion we established the partnership would take the form of a two-year pilot in which Naomi House would fund the team providing the service, while Shooting Star Chase would provide management, support and train the team.

We looked closely at which at-home care services would be provided as part of Naomi House’s hospice at home model and how many staff were required to fulfil the needs of the pilot. Once the details of the partnership were confirmed an agreement was drawn up and sent to legal advisors before the final document was signed by both charities.

Recruiting the team

The recruitment process then commenced for a hospice at home nurse and healthcare assistant, and the successful applicants came from Shooting Star Chase’s hospice at home team, meaning they are able to share their extensive experience of running a successful service across London and Surrey in their new roles.

The two members of staff are based at Shooting Star Chase’s children’s hospice, Christopher’s, but frequently visit Naomi House to aid dual working and communication.

During the set-up phase, the new hospice at home team spent time at Naomi House to understand how the charity works, and they looked at the referral process and procedures to communicate with families using the service.

Consent forms and introduction letters were sent to the identified Shooting Star Chase and Naomi House families in the defined geographical area who were now able to receive hospice at home care, and the team also networked to raise awareness of hospice at home in north Hampshire among local statutory services such as community children’s nursing teams.

How’s it going?

The aim of the partnership is to provide families with a life-limited child in north Hampshire practical and emotional support that is both flexible and reflective of their chosen way to care. We’re already seeing evidence of the huge impact this is having in the community after the service began operating in September 2014.

I also know the team take great pleasure from being able to offer a service to families that need this specific support and have been previously been unable to access it – and working with Naomi House means they can not only share their experience of hospice at home, but also pick up new ways of working and ideas from a similar charity.

Going forward

Naomi House and Shooting Star Chase will continue to work closely together throughout the two-year pilot to fully implement the service in north Hampshire. 

It is hoped that by developing a successful hospice at home model of care and demonstrating how crucial the service is to children and their families in this area, the service will be extended to all families throughout  the central south of England.

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