It has been a challenging few years for children’s hospices and the families we support. While still recovering from the huge impact of the pandemic and a national lockdown that brought our fundraising to a halt, we are now confronted by spiralling living costs. So, to be recognised as outstanding for the care we provide by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), through all of these challenges, is a significant achievement for a local children’s hospice, at a time when the care we provide couldn’t be more critical for the most seriously ill children and their families.
Continually adapting care
“It has been a very tough few years, particularly for the children and families we support, but for all our nurses and carers too. We have had to adapt our care continually to ensure we’re meeting the needs of the families we support - shifting to 100% community care during the pandemic, launching new services such as counselling to provide mental health support to the whole family and introducing family support workers to enable us to help families access the funding and equipment they need and deserve,” said Claire Hudson-Cooper, director of care at Julia’s House.
“In our 20th anniversary year, I feel proud of what everyone at Julia’s House has achieved and even prouder that their commitment and hard work has been recognised by the CQC as outstanding. I want to say thank you to all of our staff who enable our care to happen every day. And to the families who also took the time to take part in the inspection. We really valued their feedback and we’re thrilled to have been recognised as outstanding.”
The CQC visited our Corfe Mullen hospice in September 2022 and January 2023 and have now shared their report with the Julia’s House team. The inspection team identified that “feedback from staff, families and children demonstrated that children and young people received outstanding care from highly motivated staff who developed exceptionally positive, caring and compassionate relationships with them.” They noted that staff “respected their dignity and privacy and went above and beyond expectations to meet their individual needs and wishes…to help children and young people live every day to the fullest.”
The report also highlighted that the services provided by Julia’s House were “well-planned and tailored to meet the complex needs of the individual children, the local population, in partnership with the wider health economy.” Choice and continuity of care was noted and the support we were giving to families to help them access help with the rising cost of living. Staff felt “respected, supported and valued”, were clear on their roles and responsibilities and were able to develop their skills and “all staff were committed to improving services continually”.
Alongside providing individualised care and support for young people in the hospice and in families’ homes, we advocate for families wherever that may be needed. A parent said: “When nurses come in, they’re up-to-date, especially as our child’s needs change all the time. They keep in touch with other professionals and school too.” One family described how nurses attended meetings with funding providers and social workers and how they advocated for the family: “As a parent we’ve got a voice, but they bring a professional voice, they do this really well.” Another noted that “medically they’re brilliant and social aspects of the care such as play are really good too”, while a parent praised the bespoke care: “…they come out and ask how do we want them to do things, what works best for the child, how do they provide the best and work around our life.”
“We invest in specialist training and support, ensure the right systems and safeguards are in place, champion best practice, listen to our staff and the families we care for and provide a positive and people-focused working and caring environment,” said Martin Edwards, CEO at Julia’s House. “I’m just so pleased for the team that all of these things and the passion and commitment they embody, has been recognised by the CQC and can’t thank them enough for their dedication and the life-changing care they provide to the children, young people and families every day.”