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
- Symptom management and paediatric palliative care
- Bereavement support
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. 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 chill and chat groups.
As well as complementary therapy, giving parents the opportunity to switch off from the stresses of life, we also offer a range of creative therapies including music therapy, art therapy and dramatherapy. These therapies offer a safe and secure space for children to find new ways to express themselves.
We also offer social work, including liaison with statutory service providers, and a transition service for young adults, and their families, who are transitioning into adult care.
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.
Many of the children we support have very complex symptoms which may change over time, particularly towards the end of life. Our symptom and community nurses work to ensure families receive support in their preferred place of care – whether that’s at home, at one of our hospices or in hospital.
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 Clinical Nurse Specialists who are 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.
At end of life our dedicated Symptom and Community Nursing Team work in collaboration with specialist teams at the Royal Marsden Hospital, Evelina London Children’s Hospital and Great Ormond Street Hospital to provide 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 also offer bereavement support to families who have had no contact with us prior to their child’s death.
We offer individual and couple counselling as well as bereavement groups to support parents and other family members, including siblings and grandparents. Learn more about our specialist bereavement care.
We offer both planned and emergency respite at our Guildford hospice, Christopher’s. Access to planned respite 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 respite stays, we aim to provide children and young people with 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 emergency respite. We can also offer planned short breaks where the need has been assessed and funded by the Local Authority or NHS.