For children like Josh, being in a homely environment surrounded by their family makes a huge difference. At Helen House, we care for terminally ill babies and young children and offer families a warm and loving place to create happy memories together.
Helen House is a home from home for babies and children up to the age of 18. Helen House opened its doors in 1982 as the world’s first children’s hospice. Set in peaceful grounds just 20 minutes’ walk from Oxford city centre, it’s a welcoming place where families can feel cocooned from the strain of 24/7 care of their very ill child.
Helen House is here to give families some much-needed practical and emotional support as they cope with the exhaustion and grief of this unimaginably difficult situation. Mums, dads, brothers, sisters and grandparents are all warmly welcomed as part of the Helen House family.
“Coming to Helen House has made all the difference in the world to Josh and us as a family. By helping us as parents and giving us respite, advice, emotional support and medical guidance, we are so much better able to care for Josh.” – Claire, Josh’s Mum
Take a look around Helen House
Helen House gives our young patients and their families a light, spacious and comforting place to spend time together. The central play area is filled with toys and games for all ages, with an art area where children can enjoy some creative therapy (you’ll notice some of the children’s art proudly displayed on the walls as part of the Roald Dahl Living Art project). Younger children especially love our ‘magic carpet’ of interactive images projected on the floor, while our games room is a fun place for the whole family.
Patients and families can get some much-needed relaxation and therapy from what is often 24/7 care in our soothing multi-sensory room, with its water bed and gentle music and light patterns. Families love relaxing together in the warm water of our hydrotherapy pool, or wandering around our tranquil gardens, where there’s even a wheelchair accessible treehouse, swing and roundabout. Our kaleidoscope garden, designed by Greenfingers Charity, has been created specifically for patients in beds and wheelchairs.
The children’s bedrooms overlook our beautiful gardens, as well as having TVs and DVD players to help them feel at home. Families are warmly welcome to stay, either in their child’s room or more usually in one of our comfortable and well-equipped family flats.
Jack was born in 2014 with severe brain trauma. The hospital referred his family to Helen House for the support and advice they needed to manage Jack’s condition at home. Jack now visits for regular respite stays, and his family receive support and advice from the Helen & Douglas House outreach nurses when he is particularly unwell.
Jack’s Mum Mary says: “Without Helen & Douglas House, we would be exhausted. We would be lost without their help. Sometimes we stay at Helen House to get a settled night’s sleep, and sometimes we come home and have a break from our child’s extra needs. Jack is very relaxed at Helen House. He enjoys play and lots of attention and cuddles and the medical care is excellent.”