Families 'starting to reach breaking point' as hospice appeals for funds

4 minute read
Families 'starting to reach breaking point' as hospice appeals for funds

Published at 9:33am 14th May 2020. (Updated at 6:04am 15th May 2020)

Children's Hospice South West has had to close its 40 charity shops and furloughed 40% of its workforce.

A core team remains to try and do everything it can for the 500 families it looks after across three hospices.

Those families have children with a life-limiting or life-threatening conditions.

But the hospice has said it can only provide care while funds continue to be raised.

Sarah Stott, head of fundraising at CHSW, said: "Providing care has changed significantly. Life is looking very different now and we had to adapt very quickly and bring about big changes.

"It has changed the way we can provide our care, our fundraising activities and income.

"But what we're hearing from some of the families we look after is they're starting to reach breaking point in all this.

"Care packages are starting to fall away, the emotional, mental and physical exhaustion that they are feeling is being compounded by the extra issues and complications of life at the moment.

"Whilst many of them have those stresses all the time, what we're usually there for is respite care which can alleviate those.

"We can only continue to be there for the families if the fundraising continues.

'There's no escaping the impact it's had on our fundraising activities and a financial impact and I'm sure it will continue to for many months to come."

Sarah said in mid March fundraising "all but stopped" as lockdown was declared.

"Many of the companies that support us and raise money for us are closed or furloughed employees," she said.

"Community fundraising as we knew it all but came to a halt."

The hospices, including Little Harbour in St Austell, are still open to offer symptom management, emergency and end-of-life care.

And although the charity has had to cancel planned respite stays at its hospices, care teams have adapted their day-to-day care provision, with support now being offered over the phone, as well as in children’s own homes.

CHSW nurses have been going out into the community, visiting family homes to undertake nursing care or sometimes just to deliver a food parcel.

And while the charity’s primary mantra is always to support children and families, its nurses have also been working alongside NHS partners to support community nurses and help ensure that no-one who needs care is left on their own.

 

"We're doing what we can to be there for the families. The hospice is still a lovely warm and welcoming home from home environment, though we are following social distancing rules," said Sarah.

"Care teams have adapted brilliantly and are inspiring.

"We are working closely with other charities and the NHS and supporting them where we can.

"We want to try and make sure that every family out there that needs care and support is receiving it."

For now, a lot of the fundraising focus has moved online.

Virtual events such as The 2.6 Challenge (click here to find out more) have helped bring in money.

"We were very fortunate that so may people jumped on board and helped to raise over £40,000 with the challenge.

"As massive thank you to everybody who joined us and continues to be there for our families."

Alli Ryder, CHSW’s Director of Care, said: “It’s been a huge operational and organisational change but the feel – that social, cultural, family aspect of our care shines through; and our ability to meet the needs of children and families in a compassionate way continues.”

You can find out more about CHSW here.

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