Over 40 children in Jersey are suffering with a life-threatening condition – but from next year there will be a new hope for a brighter end of life for some of them.
Jersey Hospice yesterday unveiled their plans for a dedicated children’s service.
The palliative care project aims to support children and young people from their diagnosis through, “...life, death and beyond."
Not only will this include comfort, care and the provision of short breaks for those who are unwell, but support through the bereavement process for family members. Hospice staff say that the focus is firmly on life, not death, and children will be supported in continuing their education. Offering seriously ill children the opportunity to play is also considered “essential.”
The charity’s ultimate goal is to build a purpose-built facility with family accommodation at the Jersey Hospice site, but they’ll firstly need to appoint a team to design and construct the building. A fundraising campaign is set to launch soon.
Pictured: Jersey Hospice hope to soon start fundraising for a purpose-built children's facility.
While this is likely to be more than a year in the making, Jersey Hospice have said they are already in a position to launch the first strand of the new children’s care provision next year – a 24-hour outreach service and day hospice provision for children, young adults and their families.
Providing children’s care had been on Hospice’s agenda for some time now, but the plans began to take shape in 2016 following a decision by the Board of Trustees who concluded that the charity should cater to anyone irrespective of their age or diagnosis.
This year, the team have appointed a Trainee Counsellor with extensive experience in working with children and young people, as well as Paediatric Doctor Natalie Kemp specialised in children’s palliative care. Dr Kemp will work closely with the Wessex Deanery – guided by specialist consultant in the area Dr Michelle Koh – as she undertakes further studies in the area of care. She will be the island’s first ever specialist in paediatric end of life care.
The project is a major landmark in the history of the charity, which has been running for nearly 40 years.
Pictured: The charity say that a child's ability to continue to be able to play and enjoy education is vital - even if they're suffering from a life-limiting condition.
Between 2009 and 2016, the number of people dying in Jersey’s General Hospital reduced from 50% to 34% thanks, in part, to a Hospice education programme.
The charity hope they’ll have similarly successful outcomes for children. 24 aged zero to 16 died between 2012 and 2016, while 19 young people (16-24) also lost their lives in the same time period.
There are five new cases of cancer in children each year. For those who find that their condition is incurable, Hospice have made a firm commitment to ensure that they will put the “child, young person and family at the centre of decision making” to “enable them to have the best quality of life and death possible.”
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