Hospice specialist child centre moves step closer

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Emelita Robbins, who heads the organisation, said that acquiring Highland and surrounding land meant they could press ahead with a project to build a new wing to care for children with life-limiting conditions.

At present, Clarkson House is registered to care for adults only. The charity also plans to use the new site for other aspects of its services in the coming years.

‘We believe that children should have access to the same specialist palliative care as adults in Jersey do,’ she said.

‘There was a belief that the needs of children in the Island with life-limiting conditions did not necessitate such a specialist service.

‘However, through our work over the last two years, working with other organisations to establish the need for a children’s unit, we have identified that there are currently 44 families in the Island with children with life-limiting illnesses.’

Ms Robbins said they hoped to submit a detailed planning application, and launch a fund-raising campaign for the children’s unit, later this year with a view to opening in 2021.

At present children’s palliative care is provided in the family home and in the General Hospital. The new two-storey unit will comprise four suites off a central lounge. It will be linked to Clarkson House by an atrium where the charity hopes to create a winter gardens for children and adults and their families.

In the meantime, Jersey Hospice is widening its emotional support team services over the course of this year to provide specialist care to children in the family home. This will include introducing a 24-hour outreach service and day hospice provision for children and young adults, and their families.

Jersey Hospice Care was founded in 1982 and the Island’s first hospice opened in a two-bedroom bungalow in Grouville in 1985. The facility moved to Mont Cochon in 1995 and was extended four years ago.

Ms Robbins said they expected to find more families requiring palliative care as the new services are established.

‘From comparing Jersey to comparable populations in the UK, we would expect there to be about 64 children that we could care for,’ she said.

‘We know that between 2012 and 2016, 24 children died between birth and 16 years, and that 19 young people between the ages of 16 and 24 also died.

‘What we hope to achieve with building the new unit is to offer families a place of specialist care and to provide emotional and bereavement support.’

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