Children’s Hospices Across Scotland (CHAS) launched the UK’s first virtual children’s hospice to support children with life-shortening conditions and their families during the coronavirus crisis, and beyond.
The hospice charity, which supports Scotland’s most vulnerable children, set up this innovative new service to help families who are self-isolating or unable to visit a hospice.
CHAS is a charity in Scotland that provides hospice services for babies, children and young people with life-shortening conditions. The national charity offers palliative care and respite for the whole family via its two hospices, Rachel House in Kinross and Robin House in Balloch, and its CHAS at Home service supports families in their own homes and has teams working in hospitals across the whole of Scotland.
The virtual hospice will offer families nursing, medical and pharmacy advice by phone and video; bereavement support; money and benefits advice; and practical advice around coronavirus. The service will also offer a storytelling service for children at home; letter writing for children and parents; activity packs and art clubs; and virtual Clowndoctor visits, with more in the pipeline.
Alongside the launch of the virtual children’s hospice, CHAS is supporting the NHS and Scottish Government in this national effort. Our at-home staff are helping sustain packages of care for children at home, and we are working with all three children’s hospitals in Scotland. CHAS’s support in hospitals includes the first hospital-based palliative care teams in the Royal Hospital for Children in Glasgow which was launched last year, and specialist colleagues working alongside the NHS in Edinburgh, Inverness, Aberdeen and Kilmarnock.
Rami Okasha, CEO of CHAS, said:
“This is an incredibly difficult time for everyone, particularly for families caring for children who will die young. CHAS will be alongside those families in every way we can and that’s where our virtual hospice comes in.
“Many families we support are self-isolating and our two hospices have to prioritise end-of-life and crisis care right now.
“For families who can’t come to the hospice, we will take our hospice to them. Our nurses will be reaching out to families to offer advice and support. Our dedicated volunteers will make friendship calls to ensure parents never feel alone. Our specialist teams are on hand to provide clinical advice and keep children smiling with a suite of great activities. We can do all that, ensuring face-to-face care is prioritised for emergencies and crisis.
“Keeping the joy alive is at the very heart of everything we do at CHAS but it goes without saying it’s putting more strain on our resources just when fundraising is hardest. We really need your help to keep our services running and help us adapt our care to those who need it most.”