Shining a light on lifeline services for children and their families this week is Children’s Hospice Week (22 May – 28 May 2017), a special week aimed at raising awareness about the number and needs of children with life-limiting conditions and to celebrate the lifeline services that children and families rely on.
Organised by Together for Short Lives, the UK charity that speaks out for all children and young people who are expected to have short lives, this year’s campaign is all about turning up the volume on children’s palliative care. The goal is to amplify families’ voices and change people’s perceptions about some of the myths surrounding children’s hospices.
There are 49,000 children and young people living in the UK with health conditions that are life-shortening or life-threatening—and sadly, that number is rising. That’s one in every 270 children—the equivalent of one in every school.
For families with sick children, hearing the news that their son or daughter has a life-shortening condition and is likely to die young is absolutely devastating. Coping with the knowledge that their child will die before them is immensely difficult and it can make daily life for the whole family challenging. In addition, the child may have a complex condition that’s unpredictable and require round-the-clock care, 24/7.
That’s where children’s hospices come in, helping families have as fulfilling lives as possible and the very best care possible at the end of their children’s lives. As the charity says, they ‘cannot change the diagnosis but they can help children and families make the most if their time together.’
The Duchess of Cambridge, who is Royal Patron of East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH),
has just released a new video to mark the start of Children’s Hospice Week. Highlighting the palliative care and support children’s hospices provides children and young people in the UK with life-limiting conditions, she says:
“For these families, having expert care and support is vital, and this is what children’s hospices provide. They deliver first-class care in a safe environment that feels as close to home as possible, full of colour, warmth, love and support.
“Today as we mark the beginning of Children’s Hospice Week – I hope you will join me in shining a light on the dedicated and inspirational staff and volunteers, and the lifeline services they provide for children and their families. The work they do is extraordinary and it really does make a world of difference.”
Graham Butland, EACH Chief Executive said: “We are extremely honoured Her Royal Highness has taken the time to record a message of support, not only for EACH but for all children’s hospices across the UK.
“The video message recognises the hard work and expertise of our staff and volunteers, as well as the range of specialist services that EACH provides.
“Children’s Hospice Week is a key date in our calendar and we hope people will join us by getting involved and raising money and awareness of children’s palliative care services.”
Together for Short Lives is calling on the public this week to support their local services and help families in their area. You can visit www.togetherforshortlives.org.uk/childrenshospiceweek for more information and find out how you can get involved.
You can also follow the campaign on twitter using the hash tags #ChildrensHospiceWeek and #UpTheVolume.