Care for Children Campaign
In 2005, The Irish Hospice Foundation in association with the Department of Health & Children published A Palliative Care Needs Assessment for Children. A key finding of this nationwide study was that most families want their seriously ill child to be cared for and if possible to die at home surrounded by family, favourite toys and well-loved pets.
In response to this, we worked closely with the Department to develop The Irish Hospice Foundations’ Care for Children Programme. We funded 85% of the start-up costs of this programme and run it in association with the HSE.
Key strands of Care for Children Campaign
- The appointment, in 2011, of Ireland’s first Consultant Paediatrician with a Special Interest in Paediatric Palliative Care – Dr Mary Devins – to give clinical leadership and direction for the further development of children’s hospice/palliative care services. This post was entirely funded by The Irish Hospice Foundation for 5 years. Click here for more on the role of the consultant and outreach nurses.
- A national network of Children’s Outreach Nurses (8 initially) to provide advice and support to parents and other professionals involved in the care of very sick children at home. Five of these posts were seed funded, for three years, by The Irish Hospice Foundation, the remaining three by the HSE.
- Education/training in paediatric palliative care for other healthcare professionals, e.g. public health nurses, via an education programme developed in association with Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin. Between 2007 and 2011, this training was delivered to more than 1,500 health professionals, thanks to IHF funding. The HSE has now taken over the funding; the IHF retains some administrative involvement.
None of this would be possible without the generosity of the general public, our corporate supporters and other groups and organisations who contribute to the funding of this ambitious programme, to which we committed €3.4m over the last 10 years. These have included Axa, Early Childhood Ireland, women golfers from clubs and societies all over Dublin and anyone who has bought or sold tickets in our annual Spring Raffle.
Over 4,000 children with life-limiting illness
But, our work is not finished – there is much more to do. We now estimate that there are 4,000 children at any one time with a life-limiting illness, many of whom require care and help from children’s outreach nurses.
Sadly 350 of these children die every year. In 2016 we reopened our children’s palliative care fund.
What we want
- To fund a second paediatric consultant specialising in children’s palliative care in Temple Street Children’s Hospital
- To fund more Children’s Outreach Nurses to support more families
We receive no funding from the state for our work – if you would like to make a contribution to the Care for Children Campaign, please click here.
Families deserve to make the most of their time together. Please consider supporting us for the much needed next steps for children and their families.