Referrals are being taken now for Zest, a service for young adults from age 14 who are living with progressive and incurable illnesses, to assist with a smooth move into adult care services through transition nurse coordination and group support.
Part of the free service is the Zest X-Change monthly social group aimed at 14-25 year olds, which will be held in the Joan Tomkins Centre at St Helena Hospice, Colchester, from September. It is a chance for young adults from across north east Essex to experience some independence while playing inclusive sports or joining in with creative and sensory activities, music, quizzes and games.
The Colchester-based Zest X-Change group will be jointly staffed by professionals and volunteers from St Helena Hospice, Zest and EACH, in a coordinated approach critical for a young person’s successful move from children’s services to adult services.
A new peer support group for parents and carers will also start in September, offering the opportunity to discuss issues and support each other, as well as sharing thoughts on how services for young people can be improved. Additionally, there will be a monthly Saturday family drop-in session at St Elizabeth Hospice in Ipswich.
Once aged 18 there is the potential for Zest to provide nurse-led specialist short break and respite days for these young adults. Working in partnership with local statutory providers, these services can be funded either from NHS continuing health care or local social care. These services are held within the community care unit at St Elizabeth Hospice, Ipswich.
A free information session for families and health professionals about Zest and how this service will work in partnership with St Helena Hospice and EACH, will be held at the Joan Tomkins Centre, St Helena Hospice, Barncroft Close, Colchester, CO4 9JU, at 2pm until 4.30pm on Saturday 15th July, complete with inclusive activities and refreshments. To book a place or for more information, contact the Zest team by email email@example.com or call 01473 707032, or alternatively turn up on the day.
Zest is part of the St Elizabeth Hospice Group and since 2015 has provided specialist medical and social support services to young adults living with progressive and life-limiting illnesses, while also ensuring the smooth transition from children’s hospice into adult care through closely working with East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH).
Lisa Parrish, director of care at St Helena, said:
“Living with a life limiting condition can be isolating, both for the young person and their family, so we are delighted to work with St Elizabeth Hospice and EACH to introduce Zest X-Change locally. It’s been a lifeline for families in east Suffolk and we know there is a need here in north east Essex too.
“As well as being a chance to socialise and give parents and carers time to talk with peers, the new Zest X-Change groups are an opportunity for young adults to visit the Hospice regularly and build positive relationships before they transition to adult services.
“We are urging people who would benefit from these new groups to refer themselves now ready for the September start, and also to go along to the launch event in July to find out more.”
There are 571 young adults aged 14-25 with life limiting conditions in the area covered by the NHS Suffolk and North East Essex Integrated Care Board; of which 230 live in north east Essex, with two thirds needing children to adult service transitional support.
Visit www.sthelena.org.uk/zest to make a referral to Zest X-Change or call 01473 707032 for more information.