We realise this is a very difficult time for everyone, but we want you to know that at Claire House great efforts are being made to keep the children we care for safe and out of hospital. Working alongside our colleagues in the NHS, we have an important role to play.

Whilst our usual services have been disrupted, we are still offering a wide range of support to families. Wherever possible we are offering support virtually or over the telephone. However, we will still be accepting priority cases into the hospice.

In regard to our financial sustainability, our funding has always been unpredictable, and as such we have worked very hard over a long period of time to build a reserve fund that exists to support Claire House through unpredictable times. Whilst we never thought that an outbreak such as this would bring such change, we are totally committed to continuing to provide our vital services. We are doing our best to take a planned and proactive approach to a very difficult situation with the support of amazing staff, volunteers and supporters.

Hospice and community care:

All planned respite at the hospice and community settings has been cancelled for the foreseeable future. The care team have been contacting families who use Claire House services to understand their current situation and identify key support concerns.

The priorities that NHS England have asked children’s hospices to consider include:

End of life care in the hospice, home and hospital.

Emergency step down care from hospital to free up acute care beds: This would be for children who meet hospice eligibility criteria.

Emergency Respite: If the normal day to day care delivery for a child or young person breaks down for example if apparent or main carer(s) become unwell.

Preventing avoidable admissions to hospital of children already known to Claire House.

It is important to highlight that Claire House will NOT be able to provide emergency respite in every situation and will therefore have to triage and prioritise every referral received each day. This will also take account of the availability of enough skilled nurses and support and the additional resources required to support each family, including the correct personal protective equipment (PPE).


Other Service provision: 

The Care Team: are contacting every family that Claire House supports regularly to look at how we can best support them at this time and link them with other services as needed.

Symptom Management Telephone Advice Line: The Rapid Response Team will be providing a telephone advice line Monday to Friday 9-5pm for all children who access Claire House. This advice line will be staffed by one of our Nurse Specialists and will try and support families at home if they are unwell. This is not to replace any other services such as 111 or attending hospital. We are hoping that some hints and tips for managing mild symptoms, both related to coronavirus and not, will give families reassurance to manage their child at home.

The play, therapies & planned care teams have put together a whole range of daily interactive and other support activities on our Parents Facebook and other interactive platforms to reach out to provide advice and support to families.

The counselling & family support team have quickly developed virtual counselling and a range of other support activities and have been sharing lots of information to help families stay positive at this very difficult time.

This is clearly an unprecedented and rapidly changing and challenging situation and we will continue to frequently review our service priorities and communicate these to you.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or concerns.


Jan Sutherland-Oakes, Director of Clinical Care

David Pastor, CEO


Helpful Links

Government Website

NHS Website