East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH) has opened the doors of The Treehouse to show supporters the difference their contributions have made to the delivery of care and support to local life-threatened children and their families.
EACH publically launched the ‘Treehouse Appeal’ in March 2010 to build and equip a new children’s hospice in Ipswich to replace their existing building in Walker Close. The Walker Close hospice opened in 1999 as a pilot project, but demand for services had grown so significantly, that it was unable to meet the needs of life-threatened children and their families.
EACH reached their £3m target in just 12 months and The Treehouse began delivering care and support in May this year. This is the first time the media have been able to have a comprehensive tour of The Treehouse, as well as seeing care and support being delivered to local children and their families.
With more bedrooms and dedicated family accommodation, end of life care and short break care can now be delivered simultaneously. Previously care had to be cancelled, often at very short notice, inconveniencing families and forcing them to change plans often made months in advance.
In the previous hospice, the main care area served many functions, and was used as a dining room, activity room and even meetings with families and staff. Dedicated spaces for all these functions in The Treehouse means greater flexibility and choice.
Simon King, Head of Palliative Care Services at The Treehouse, said: “The Treehouse provides the space families need to meet not only their care needs, but their physical and emotional needs too, and we have taken great care to ensure it is a welcoming place; a home from home.
“In the previous hospice, one family could fill all the available space and then we couldn’t accommodate the needs of others. In The Treehouse we have space for families to stay, which means we can, and have, provided end of life care, alongside short break care, whilst caring for a child’s body after they’ve died.
“For mums and dads The Treehouse can be a place where they take a short break together with their child. It can also be the place they come to when their child is reaching the very end of his or her life, where they can stay with their child after they’ve died, to say goodbye, to capture memories.
“The Treehouse Appeal has raised public awareness of EACH- much more than we envisaged. A major benefit is that both families and healthcare professionals are more likely to think of the hospice as a service that could be helpful to them or their patients.”
Tracy Rennie, EACH Director of Care, said: “The Treehouse has revolutionised the provision of children’s hospice care across Suffolk and North Essex- allowing an even higher quality and more diverse range of care and support to be delivered.
“New facilities including dedicated family accommodation, a hydrotherapy pool, sensory room and sound-proofed music studio, means we can offer children, young people and families a greater choice and flexibility in the way they access our care and support services. The Treehouse puts us in a position of strength, as we look to provide more care to more families in the future”
Hannah Bloom, EACH Suffolk Partnerships Manager, said: “It’s been wonderful to invite the media along to see just how special The Treehouse is- and to communicate that to a much wider audience.
“We hope this opportunity will allow all the supporters of the Treehouse Appeal to realise just how important their contributions have been, and to see for themselves the difference they have made to all the life-threatened children and their families