Earl Mountbatten Hospice is the only hospice in the country which provides services for both adults and children.
In 2013, we began a project aimed at developing a range of services offering flexible, individualised end of life care and support for children and young people living on the Isle of Wight. In partnership with KissyPuppy, the Sophie Rolf Trust, which was set up by Aaron Rolf and Gemma Blamire in memory of their daughter Sophie, and the local NHS Children's Community Team, we can now ensure that any child with a life-shortening illness and their family get the support they need.
We are able to offer a room within the hospice ward where children and young people can receive end of life care locally, delivered by the Children's Community Team. The hospice also provides a resting service for after-death care. Nothing can take away the unbearable pain of the death of a child, but how we care for a child and those around them during the last part of their life can make a real difference.
The service has won three awards: the Annual Hospice Innovation Award at the 2015 Hospice UK national conference, the 'Improving Services for Children and Young People' Award and the Chairman's Diamond Award at the Isle of Wight NHS Trust Awards in March 2016.
"Just to know that we had a choice at the end, that WE could choose where our child went and how long we could stay with her. That WE could decide when the time was right to say goodbye. To have that choice at a time where all other choices were out of our hands was more important than we could have possibly forseen. The kindness shown to use by the hospice staff, who themselves were in unfamiliar territory, was extraordinary. It's very hard to convey something so personal in words, but at the lowest point in our family's life, when we felt so wholly alone, they made us feel that we were anything but..." Parent