We have been providing specialist care in the home for seriously ill children and their families for nearly 30 years, and now we are supporting those families more fully than ever before.
Since 1993, our Hospice at Home service has been caring for babies, children and young people up to the age of 19 living with a life-limiting condition in west Herts and Bucks. Offering flexible care tailored to each family’s needs, we aim to help children enjoy the best quality of life possible, when every moment matters.
Central to the service has always been the clinical care provided by our specialist children’s nurses, who work closely with the children’s community nurses to manage, co-ordinate and deliver care, ensuring the needs and wishes of the children and their families are met. We carry out home visits to monitor children’s conditions, liaise with other healthcare professionals to ensure any changes are treated quickly and appropriately, help plan ahead for future needs, and support parents to cope with their child’s medical care at home.
We are there to provide advice, support and emergency visits, if needed, during extended hours from 8am to 8pm, Monday to Friday, and 24 hours over the weekend and bank holidays, and for any child reaching end of life, they are available on-call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so the family never feels alone.
Mum-of-four Mel says the Rennie Grove Children’s nurses give her peace of mind and practical support. “It’s great knowing I can call at any time just to talk or to ask advice. The worry that comes with caring for a child with serious health needs – the sense of responsibility when you’re overseeing their care in any setting – is draining.”
Helping families to make the most of being together has also always been an important part of the service, and it is in this area that we have been expanding our support.
Over the past year, two healthcare assistants and a play specialist have been recruited to the Children’s team. Together, the diversified team are providing more short respite visits for parents, with a familiar face from the children’s team taking over the role of carer while parents take some time to recharge. The programme of group activities and events has also been expanded, enabling families to get out more, have fun together and socialise with other families.
Therapeutic play sessions have been introduced, with team’s play specialist guiding on play to support with development, and facilitating family play sessions that focus on having fun together and making memories. Rennie Grove’s Supporting Hands service also works alongside the children’s team and offers families the option to be supported by a volunteer to provide a much-needed extra pair of hands.
“It’s such a holistic service”, says mum-of-two Karen, “Our volunteer Rachel came out with us on our trips in the holidays, otherwise I wouldn’t have had that extra pair of hands to go anywhere.” The family also really enjoy attending organised events where they can meet other families. Husband John adds “It’s not particularly one thing, it’s all of it.” Karen agrees. “I think it has been life-changing for us to get Rennie Grove, it’s all of it, the whole package.”
Thanks to generous donations from the local community and through Rennie Grove’s partnership with The Pepper Foundation, all this is provided at no cost to the families who need it.
Hear from more families supported by Rennie Grove’s Children’s Service by visiting our stories section here.