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Arthur Rank Hospice Charity and East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH) recently held a special online open day for young people and their families who are transitioning from childrens’ to adults’ Hospice services. More young people living with a life-limiting condition or illness are now requiring the support of adult services than in previous decades, due to medical and healthcare system advancements and subsequent improvements on prognoses.
The Virtual Open Day follows a series of three collaborative events, which took place in person during 2019, when young people and their families visited EACH, Arthur Rank Hospice Charity and Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall Hospice in turn, and were introduced to the support still available to them as they reach the age of 18 (the age limit for EACH’s services).
Kristie Foreman, Young Persons Transition Coordinator for the three Hospices – a post funded by the National Lottery Community Fund – partnered with Jenna Kent (Groups and Events Co-ordinator at EACH) to deliver the virtual open day.
Alongside icebreaker games and opportunities for young people and their family members to get to know Kristie and each other, a video tour of Arthur Rank Hospice introducing the Transition Team was shared. The afternoon also provided an opportunity for open discussion about the differences between paediatric and adult hospices and a chance to talk about any concerns about perceived gaps in care. Attendees shared their stories, talked about their expectations about adult health and social care and were able to share any problems they may be experiencing. Kristie and Jenna directed families to helpful websites and other services offering transition advice and support, and attendees left feeling reassured that Kristie would be on hand should they need further advice and support.
One of the parents who took part in the virtual open day, explains why it was important to her:
“There’s so much to cover along the transitions journey and I think it is important to break it down into areas, as it can be really stressful and overwhelming. It was useful to get a glimpse into the future in terms of hospice services.
I also really enjoyed meeting two other mums who are on that similar journey. I have met them both before and am friends with one of them via my social media. I think that was one thing I took away; it would be great to be able to make contact with them or see them regularly along this transition journey. It’s good to go through these things with other parents and be able to share info and have a moan and a giggle.”
Kristie Foreman, adds:
“We are hoping to hold further social events, in person, once the restrictions for the pandemic have eased. However, in the meantime our Virtual Open Day was an important opportunity for these young people, their parents, and families to touch base with us and talk to us about anything that might be worrying them.
The transition from childrens’ to adults’ services can be tricky to navigate at the best of time, and COVID-19 has made everything like this harder still. I’m really looking forward to meeting families in person, but in the meantime, I am available on the telephone, email or video call if they have anything they would like to chat through or ask.”
Young people or families who were unable to attend the Virtual Open Day but would like to see the video tour of Arthur Rank Hospice Charity introducing the Transition Team, can find it on the Charity’s YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DoNE_GRt3eE .
A similar open day is planned for Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall Hospice later this year. Families who would be interested to find out more about this or future activities for young people transitioning to adult services can visit arhc.org.uk/youngpeople, or contact Kristie by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 01223 675777, Monday to Friday 8.30am-4.30pm.