How we help
Find out about the care we provide at Shooting Star Children’s Hospices and the different ways we help and support babies, children and young people with life-limiting conditions and their families.
Family support and therapies
We provide an extensive range of counselling, therapies and support groups for the whole family including parents, siblings and grandparents.
We support over 700 brothers and sisters with dedicated sibling groups. These groups contain fun activities and opportunities to explore and share their feelings in a safe environment. We run six siblings groups for siblings of life-limited children and bereaved siblings of all ages.
Other groups we run include grandparents day (pre and post bereavement), family workshops on how to help siblings and for those new to the service, pamper days, bereaved men’s group and preschool groups.
As well as physiotherapy, occupational therapy advice and support, including liaison with statutory service providers, we also offer a range of creative therapies including music therapy, art therapy and play therapy. These therapies offer a safe, secure space for children to find new ways to express themselves
We also offer complementary therapy to children and families both at our hospices and in the community, providing the opportunity to switch off from the stresses of life and relax, promoting a feeling of wellbeing.
Key worker support
All families are allocated an experienced care professional to be their key worker. From the start they will get to know the child and develop an understanding of their medical and individual needs. They will be the first point of contact at Shooting Star Children’s Hospices for all families and will support and help them with any questions they may have.
We offer day care at both our hospices which allows families to leave their child or teenager for a few hours in a safe environment with experienced and familiar care team members.
At our Hampton hospice, we also have our Sparkle Day Care service, a preschool provision which follows the Early Years Foundation programme to ensure that each child has the opportunity to reach their full potential.
Symptom management and paediatric palliative care
Our core mission is to provide expert nursing and medical care, including the management of difficult symptoms, for children at end of life, alongside support for their families, in their preferred place of care.
Many of the children we support have very complex symptoms which may change over time, particularly towards the end of life. Our symptom management and palliative care enables very sick children to be supported and cared for both at home and at our hospices.
Our symptom care is led by Dr AK Anderson, a consultant in Paediatric Palliative Medicine – of which there are only seven in the country – and a team of lead nurses who are specially trained in symptom management.
Their role is to support the child’s own GP, their medical team and Children’s Community Nursing Team through assessment and advice on managing various symptoms including pain. The team also support both hospice teams in the delivery of symptom management, palliative and end-of-life care.
At end of life we work in collaboration with specialist teams at the Royal Marsden Hospital and Great Ormond Street Hospital to provide this expert medical and nursing care either at one of our hospices or in the child’s own home 24-hours a day.
Our team work alongside the child and family and help co-ordinate the wide range of professionals who are involved in the child’s care, to ensure that the families wishes are at the centre of care provision and decision making.
We have a dedicated area at each hospice where a child can lay at rest, allowing their family to say goodbye in a familiar and supportive environment. Care does not stop after a child has died. We will continue to provide practical and emotional support for the entire family.
We offer individual and couple counselling as well as bereavement groups to support parents and other family members, including siblings, parents and grandparents.
We offer planned and emergency short breaks at our two children’s hospices, Shooting Star House in Hampton and Christopher’s in Guildford.
Access to planned short breaks is based on an assessment of the child’s medical condition and the stability of the child and family at that time. Eligibility can change as the child’s condition progresses, circumstances change or if the child is approaching end of life.
During the short break stays, we aim to give children and young people a range of fun, sensory and therapeutic activities, while parents can choose to stay at the hospice to enjoy family time together or get a complete break.
We know that things can’t always be planned and at Shooting Star Children’s Hospices we pride ourselves on our flexible care. We will always do our best to support a family in a crisis situation with an emergency short break. We can also offer planned respite and short breaks where the need has been assessed and funded by the Local Authority or NHS.
Hospice at Home
Our dedicated Hospice at Home team is made up of highly-trained nursing staff and healthcare assistants and supported by therapists, physiotherapists and counsellors.
As with our short breaks, access to Hospice at Home support is based on an assessment of the child’s medical condition and the stability of the child and family at that time. Eligibility can change as the child’s condition progresses, circumstances change or if the child is approaching end of life.
The team make over 500 hours of visits each month to families homes across London and Surrey, enabling parents to spend time with their other children, do the shopping, see friends or just have a break.
Families tell us this service is a life line, providing greater independence, and more time for them to be a family.