We would like to say a huge thank you to Garfield Weston Foundation for their wonderful donation of £30,000 towards the cost of our 6 part-time specialist paediatric palliative care doctors who give 24 hour medical cover at the hospice.
Our doctors create personalized care plans for each child we look after including complex symptom management, medically-supported respite care, emergency care, end-of-life care and outreach support. They are also pioneers in their field, conducting ground-breaking research into palliative care for children.
The Garfield Weston Foundation is a family-founded charitable grant-making trust which supports a wide range of charitable activities across the UK. Established in 1958 by Willard Garfield Weston, the Foundation has donated over £960million, becoming one of the largest and most respected charitable institutions in the UK. Over 1900 charities across the UK benefit each year from the Foundation’s grants.
The Director of the Foundation, Philippa Charles, told us “The Trustees are delighted to support the specialist paediatric palliative care for symptom management, respite and end of life care and also outreach support for the children who are cared for by the dedicated team at Helen & Douglas House.”
We offer specialist, one-to-one care in a homely environment
The environment and atmosphere in Helen & Douglas House are very different to those of busy hospital wards. The medical teams at Helen & Douglas House are led by doctors and senior nurses who are specialists in palliative care, and the personalised, one-to-one care and expertise we offer goes beyond what can be found in many hospitals.
Unlike a hospital, we are able to pair one nursing staff member with one patient during each shift, allowing them to entirely focus on the often complex care needs of the vulnerable children who we support. We are also offering expertise additional to that found in many hospitals. For example, Oxford Children’s Hospital does not have a dedicated paediatric palliative care service, and we are meeting this specialist need.
It takes a huge amount of trust for a parent to leave their seriously unwell child in our care. We work over many months to build up this trust, and our doctors play a crucial role in reassuring family members that their child will be cared for to an exceptionally high standard. Through this care, our doctors help to ease the difficulties of daily life with a terminally ill child, through in-house respite, telephone advice or our outreach service where patients are visited in their own homes or the community.
The patients coming to us for symptom management can arrive at very short notice, needing urgent review and rapid treatment. Other times, children come in for respite care. Our doctors discuss symptoms with the parents which can save unnecessary visits to hospital, or stop them developing into a more serious issue.
Our doctors are experts in palliative care, meeting the needs of patients with often rare and even undiagnosed conditions. The children we look after have a wide variety of complex needs, multiple conditions, high dependency and unstable health.
Emergency pediatric palliative care from our doctors can cover a very wide range of conditions, making this a challenging area of healthcare with an array of highly complex symptoms that require vigilant management and specialist knowledge.
Once a family has received bad news, our doctors can support a rapid discharge to home or hospice and can quickly deal with any pain or other symptoms that may impact quality of life.
The Outreach team, including our doctors, takes our expertise out to patients and families across the charity’s region, in partnership with other health-care professionals. We deliver high quality palliative care in patients’ homes or the community, using our specialist knowledge to manage a child’s symptoms and pain, helping to improve their quality of life at all stages.