When a baby or child has a terminal illness, everyone in the family is affected. There are many challenges to face when coming to terms with a new diagnosis, or the changing condition of a loved one. Families can feel overwhelmed by the choices and decisions they have to make.
We help make this desperately difficult time just a little easier for patients and their families, offering emotional, practical and medical support to children and their parents, partners, brothers, sisters and other family members. This support runs from their first stay at Helen & Douglas House through to bereavement support.
“Hospice’ used to be a scary word for us but now it represents safety, friendship, fun and an opportunity to be ourselves while Toby gets the best care and playmates any little boy could ask for.” Tim
We help people live life to the full, even when that life is short
Our comfortable hospice is here to help prepare and support patients and help them create happy family memories during their days, weeks, months or years together, as well as at the time of death and in bereavement. We provide a home from home environment for terminally ill children in Oxfordshire and the surrounding counties.
We treat every patient as an individual
The care we provide for the babies and children who stay with us is all about supporting them throughout their illness. We’re able to provide care in our Oxford hospice or through outreach nursing, including short-term respite stays, step discharge from hospital, symptom and pain management, and end-of-life care. We also support families at home through our home volunteering scheme.
We’re sensitive to the fact that every patient is different, and that their needs will change as their illness progresses. We understand that every patient needs their own different combination of medical and nursing care, psychological and emotional support, cultural, social and practical support. We work together with patients and their families, medical team and other health care professionals to decide on the best possible care for every child who comes to us.
We provide free care to those who need it
The care we offer is free of charge to the families who need it and are eligible. We rely on the generosity of the public to keep our doors open, with voluntary donations making up the majority of the £3.6 million every year we need to find to run the hospice service.
If you have a terminally ill child who needs support, call us on 01865 794749 to find out how we can help.
We’re here for the whole family
Our Family Support and Bereavement Team is here to help families deal with the challenges and concerns that go beyond the physical care of their baby or child. We run a number of support groups to help families through the toughest time of their lives, and our social worker is there to help with everything from care packages to benefits and grants. Here are some of the support groups we offer.
Bereaved Dads Group
Whether you’ve lost a child recently or years ago, you are not alone. Many bereaved dads find they can take comfort from sharing their experiences with other dads who’ve been through the same unimaginable grief. Our Bereaved Dads Group is open to any bereaved dad and meets around six times a year on weekend mornings and away days.
Parents Support Group
If you’ve lost a child, having someone to listen and talk to can help you to cope with the overwhelming grief you’re experiencing. Our Parents Support Group is a place where you can meet other parents in a relaxed setting, giving you the chance to talk about your experiences with people who understand exactly what you’re going through.
Supporting brothers and sisters
At Helen & Douglas House, we believe that brothers and sisters need support too. Young people are often anxious about discussing their fears and worries, so we offer a safe place to voice their concerns to help them feel less worried and less alone. Our two support groups are The Elephant Club for brothers and sisters aged 6 to 11 years and an Adolescent Sibling Group for those aged 12 to 17 years old. We can also arrange one-to-one support for those who need it.
What to expect
If you want to find out more about what to expect if your child comes to Helen & Douglas House, the take a look at our welcome booklet which every family receives before they arrive. It is a handy guide for every family to know how their child will be cared for and what support we can offer.
Do you need our support?
If you have a terminally ill baby or child living with a terminal illness who needs support, we can help. Call Helen & Douglas House today on 01865 794749.