Who do we help
Claire House was rated as ‘OUTSTANDING’ by the CQC in 2015, who highlighted that children ‘receive outstanding care from exceptional staff who are compassionate, understanding, enabling and who have distinctive skills in this aspect of care’ (CQC 2015).
Claire House is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and offers a range of services that can support children and families in a number of ways based on the individual child and family’s needs. This can be provided at Claire House or at home and can be for the child, young person or for family members.
The whole team at Claire House Children’s Hospice work together to help children and young people live their lives to the fullest, helping them create wonderful memories with their friends and family and bring back a sense of normality to their lives however short that time may be. Claire House can also offer support to the wider family, including siblings and grandparents.
Symptom management and step down care
Many of the children and young people accessing Claire House services may experience some difficult symptoms throughout their lives, whether that be pain, nausea, respiratory difficulties, seizures, spasms, etc and will require assessment and management.
The Hospice to Home team are able to work in partnership with the child’s consultant and other professionals involved to assess symptoms, implement any symptom management plans and review how effective they are.
Step down care (help leaving hospital) following prolonged hospital admission or major surgery (e.g. spinal rods) can also be arranged to support parents prior to going home.
In addition to conventional medical and pharmacological approaches, with agreement from the child/young person’s consultant we can offer complementary therapies i.e. reflexology, aromatherapy, reiki etc. to aid symptom management (link to complementary therapy section).
Groups and counselling
Family support and 1:1 counselling is available from the point of referral and can continue through bereavement and beyond. Dedicated counsellors can offer support and counselling to the whole family. Person centred bereavement support is offered to all families who have experienced the death of their child, this can be on a 1:1 basis and/or as part of a group with other bereaved parents. All bereaved families are also invited to the annual ‘Memory Day’ celebration.
We do not have a specific day care service. However, many of our services and activities can be accessed as a planned day case. This includes hydrotherapy, complementary therapies, music and play therapies. Our successful ‘parents and tots’ group runs fortnightly and provides a gentle introduction to all hospice services for very young children. Some of our young adults access the hospice for an immersive bath not available to them at home.
Advanced care planning
Sometimes families worry about what might happen if their child suddenly or unexpectedly becomes unwell. Talking through what might happen can help reduce some of these worries and concerns and having such discussions documented in an advanced care plan, often reduces how often these difficult conversations are needed.
Hospice to Home
The Hospice to Home teams brings all of the services offered at the hospice into the family home in order to offer choice to children/young people (CYP) and their families.
The team is led by Lesley Fellows along with a team of highly skilled registered nurses and health care support workers (HCSW) who are dedicated to supporting families in their own homes. The team has access to the play specialists, physiotherapists, music and complementary therapists to provide holistic care. The team are based on the Wirral with a satellite base in Liverpool from where they can outreach to children and young people from Merseyside, Wirral, Cheshire and parts of North Wales.
The services offered are:
The move from children’s to adults’ services can be a complicated one. We have a dedicated transitions coordinator who works closely with young people and their families to provide additional advocacy and support during transition. They will also support and advise the care team on aspects of policy and practice for young adults including the Mental Capacity Act.
End of life care
End of life care is the priority for Claire House and we will endeavor to respond to all referrals or requests for end of life care at the hospice or at home. The care team have the skills and expertise to support and manage complex symptom management as well as the significant emotional and practical support each family needs. The team will pull out all the stops to make opportunities to create final memories and experiences for families. At the hospice the family can stay with their child throughout as needed with support at hand for the whole family.
We have two dedicated ‘Butterfly bedrooms’ where a child can stay as an alternative to a funeral home after they have died. The care team are available to provide emotional and practical support to help families in these early days of bereavement and in arranging the funeral (link to bereavement support).
Medical and clinical support
Several of the experienced senior nurses are also non-medical prescribers (NMP’s) and provide the majority of the prescribing and symptom management support for the hospice and community teams.
We also have dedicated specialist pharmacist support (palliative care and children) who provide advice and support to the care team in relation to medicines management at the hospice.
Medical support is provided by a local GP practice, who visit daily for medical support and review. The lead doctor Dr. Andy Powell, has a specialist interest in palliative care and has a long-standing relationship with Claire House. Medical services at home will be provided by the child’s own GP.
We will also work closely with the Alder Hey Specialist Palliative Care Team (SPCT), and the child’s own consultant team, neonatal and other paediatric consultants to provide symptom management and end of life care.
Who we work with
At Claire House we will work closely with the full range of health, social care and other professionals involved in any child’s care as well as education and other voluntary sector providers. We have a specific relationship with Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, including the specialist palliative care team (SPCT).
Claire House is committed to the protection of children and young people in accordance with Local Safeguarding Board advice and guidelines and the principles contained within the Government documents ‘Every Child Matters’, ‘Working Together’ and ‘No Secrets’. We work very closely with the Local Safeguarding Health Board to ensure our policies and standards meet recognised national guidelines and are robust and current. All staff and volunteers at Claire House complete robust regular safeguarding training and will have an enhanced three yearly Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check. All staff, volunteers and Trustees also have training in our code of ‘Safer Working Practice’.
Safeguarding and protecting children, young people, vulnerable young adults from harm is a very high priority for staff at Claire House, which we take very seriously and promote that it is everyone's business to recognise those who may be vulnerable and need support or intervention.