This weekend sees the launch of a landmark service for St Elizabeth Hospice as it becomes the first adult hospice to develop a dedicated short break service for young adults with complex palliative care needs.
The service will provide fully resourced short breaks to enable young adult patients to spend a weekend at the hospice, with clinical and personal care provided by St Elizabeth nurses and carers, enabling them to enjoy a bit of freedom and independence away from home, while giving their families a break too.
These weekend breaks mean that young people can spend time enjoying the things they like, whether that’s watching a film, playing on the X-Box or just spending time with friends, having a takeaway or going out in the local community, to the cinema or the even the pub, all while receiving expert support and care from the hospice team.
The hospice already offers services for people from the age of 14, and is developing it’s ambition to be a regional provider of young adult hospice care.
The development of these services is led by the young adult care and transition lead Helen Finlinson, who said: “There is a real gap in services for this group of young people, some of who have very rare conditions. There are very few local providers offering support after children’s services end for them. Short breaks will provide specialist support while giving these young patients some of the normal social opportunities that can be challenging to access.”
The launch of the service coincides with the weekend of the hospice’s flagship fundraising event, The Midnight Walk, and the two young people enjoying the first short break will be attending and speaking at the walk to tell supporters why this is such a crucial service.
The hospice created its young adult brand Zest, two years ago with the aim of fostering support for, and from young adults in the development of these services, and the wider work of the charity. Since then it has opened two Zest charity shops and staged a number of events to engage younger supporters and increase awareness and understanding of hospice care.