The Donna Louise Children’s Hospice offers a counselling service to all children and young people registered with us, as well as their parents, siblings and carers.
Our professionally-qualified counsellors offer a confidential service that is tailored to individual needs. It includes a range of different techniques to provide emotional care and support, including play, art and music.
Support is also offered through the various groups that are run by the Care and Counselling Teams. These include The Mens’ Group, The Women’s Group, The Sibling Group, The Youth Group and The Parent and Carer Support Group.
The Hospice is continually developing its counselling services and the latest innovation includes The Befriending Project. This involves our parents and carers who provide support to new families coming to use our services. This very successful project provides training for volunteer parents, who then act as mentors, offering advice and support to people who are new to the Hospice.
Play and Activities
Playtime is for everyone at the Hospice. Everyone enjoys spending time in our playroom and having fun whatever their age or ability.
Our play sessions can be messy, lively and engaging or tactile, soothing and restful. They can take place as a group, having fun together, or one-to-one to suit a child or young person's needs.
A typical play session at the Hospice may include:
- Sensory equipment such as bubble tubes, ultra violet light and fibre optics.
- Story time using sensory story sacks, tactile toys and music.
- Messy play with spaghetti, gloop, shaving foam and jelly.
- Technology such as computers and games consoles
We have a Play Leader who provides a tailored play plan for all our children. They are experts in using play techniques to help build relationships and communicate. Play can be used to provide emotional support or distract a child from pain or feelings of anxiety, to offer new and exciting experiences or simply to create wonderful memories.
As part of bringing fun into the Hospice, we also offer music for all our children. Our special music room allows all our children to enjoy and experience music. There is a whole range of traditional muscial instruments for the children to play with - one of the most popular is the drum kit!
In addition, there is also a range of specialist interactive equipment which allows children to feel, or see, music with a sensory board to feel vibrations and computer software which converts notes into colours and pictures.
Music is used in a number of ways for our children, from fun and relaxation, to acting as a distraction if a child is upset or can't settle. We offer music on an individual basis and also as a group activity led by our 'Music Man' Phil.
Families can access different kinds of support including short breaks, which are offered here at the Hospice and also in the family home.
Short breaks here at the Hospice allow children to stay with us and enjoy all the facilities and activities we offer.
Their families may also stay with their children, spend time with them and use the family suites and bedrooms upstairs at the Hospice.
Stays in the Hospice are dependent on the availability of rooms and are booked in advance.
As part of our support for families our care team can also offer support and stay with the child and their relatives in the family home.
For more information on all of our respite breaks, please contact the Care Team on 01782 654440.
Symptoms Management is tailored to meet the particular needs of each child.
We work in partnership with fellow professionals to ensure we have co-ordinated care plans.
The care plans we use at the Hospice aim to deliver the best possible symptoms management. This is integrated with all aspects of a child’s care, which may be delivered by other health and social care professionals.
Our fully trained and experienced staff deliver the care and support to our children.
For more information, contact the Care Team on 01782 654440.
Care Co-ordination Service
The aim of our Care Co-ordination Service is to help families navigate the best route for them through health and social care, in partnership with professionals.
For families with children who have life-limiting conditions our Care Co-ordination Service offers specialist, professional support. We offer what is in effect a one-stop information, advice and support service for families trying to juggle the challenges of multiple appointments along with practical issues for their child.
Not only will we work with a family to show them how The Donna Louise may help them, but also support them in their dealings and meetings with other health and social care providers and show them what is available from the wider community to help meet the needs of their family.
We meet all new referrals and take them through the admission process and also prepare children and families for transition to adult services.
Each family will be assigned their own Care Co-ordinator who will be:
- A friendly face to guide you through the care and support available at The Donna Louise
- Your own personal children's nurse, experienced in palliative care, to act as your single point of contact
- Offering specialist support and act as a dedicated link and support for health and social care meetings
- A liaison for families and other agencies to address unmet needs
Debbie Askey, lead for the Care Co-ordination Team, explained: “Keeping track of a child’s appointments with a diverse range of professionals can be daunting. Our Care Co-ordination Team is here to help reduce pressure on families.
“We can help a family with practical support such as liaising with other professionals to co-ordinate support when problems arise or we may support the family by attending meetings and giving them the chance to talk it over afterwards.
“Families may also need help with real practical issues such as how to get hold of some equipment, where can their child go swimming or where there are accessible playgrounds and The Care Co-ordination Team can help signpost people to the right places to get the best help and support.”
The Care Co-ordination Service is free service offered to families from the point of referral, with each family assigned their own Care Co-ordination Worker.
If you would like to know more about a referral then please contact the Care Co-ordination Team who will be happy to chat to you.
The Donna Louise can provide a fully qualified physiotherapist with experience of working with babies, children and young people with complex needs. Physiotherapy may help with the following symptoms that are the result of a condition, for example, pain, difficulty moving, muscle weakness and stiffness. Our physiotherapist will advise on positioning, handling, treatment and equipment to enable children to reach their full physical potential.
Physiotherapy is aimed to be incorporated into activities and play throughout the day utilising the facilities for example the sensory room, play area and spa pool, as directed by the child / young person / family on their needs and wishes. Our physiotherapist can liaise with other healthcare professionals involved with your child to ensure all appropriate resources and equipment is available.
End of Life
We travel the journey with families from diagnosis to end of life.
Our specially trained and professional staff, in partnership with health and social care professionals, provide care tailored to the needs of the child. We take a holistic approach, which encompasses the whole family with counselling, music and play therapy.
When a child dies, we can offer the family bereavement support in our Garden Room. This is a private suite, where a family can sit with their child in quiet contemplation before a funeral. The suite also includes a private garden for reflection.
The Garden Room is available to children who have died at the Hospice, at home or at hospital.