Children’s Hospices Across Scotland
“It’s an ill wind turns none to good” is an old saying that might well have been applied to the experience of the Children’s Hospices Across Scotland (CHAS) during the Covid epidemic. This was the surprising suggestion made by Lyndsay Stobie, Community Fundraiser for CHAS, when she spoke to Club members on Thursday evening. Lyndsay reminded members that CHAS’s mission is to support and care for babies, children and young people who are suffering from a life-shortening condition. But it also works to support everyone in the family, offering highly personalized care at home, in hospital, and at CHAS’s two hospices: Rachel House at Kinross, and Robin House at Balloch. As Lyndsay described it: ‘This support is especially important in the really tough days at the end of life, and after a child dies’.
However, during the pandemic it was impossible for the CHAS at Home family support team to visit homes to provide the activities that help families break up the day and which bring a smile. Recognising the importance of this at a time of isolation, CHAS turned to virtual support. In the following months, over 300 activity packs were sent to families, with themes such as a bake-off, superhero and teenage gatherings, a live online art club, with additions to CHAS’s YouTube channel. Clown Doctors also made virtual visits to families, bringing fun and laughter to 1,284 children.
During 2020/2021 CHAS delivered 1,583 hours of virtual contact that was accessed by 5,319 children, with families reporting a marked increase in their quality of life. As one family reported: ‘Although we are all apart, we are still together’. In the light of this success, Lyndsay reported that CHAS has decided to continue to provide a virtual support service even when visits are permitted
This innovative service has been added to the ever-expanding range of provision that CHAS makes. In addition to Rachel House and Robin House, there is now provision in Inverness and Aberdeen, and CHAS has a presence in every children’s hospital, with specialist paediatric consultants in Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow.
Illustrating the need for its services, a research study commissioned by CHAS has revealed that the number of children likely to die young has risen to over 16,000, of whom some 27 per cent are aged five and under.
In closing, Lyndsay said that she was delighted to receive a cheque for £4,222, the proceeds from the Club’s Duck Race. She was deeply grateful to the Club, which, since 1994, has donated £90,000 to support CHAS’s vitally important work.
Stuart Brown expressed the Club’s admiration for CHAS’s innovations, and thanked Lyndsay for her inspirational talk.
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