LauraLynn Ireland’s Children’s Hospice is the realisation of the shared vision of The Children’s Sunshine Home Hospice Project, launched in 2005, and The LauraLynn Foundation, established in 2001 by Jane and Brendan McKenna after their daughters, four year-old Laura and 13 year-old Lynn, died within two years of each other, writes Sharon Morrow, Chief Executive Officer, LauraLynn Ireland’s Children’s Hospice.
The Hospice opened its door in September 2011 and since then has provided hospice care to over 280 children and their families.
LauraLynn provides hospice care to children (birth to age 18) with life-limiting conditions and their families. The focus is very much on enhancing quality of life, which includes physical comfort and wellbeing, as well as the emotional, social and spiritual aspects of care. It is an exclusive service that embraces all the family and all faiths, beliefs and cultures and provides support from diagnosis to end of life, and throughout bereavement. This holistic approach enables the interdisciplinary team, staff and volunteers to support the whole family, and allows parents to be ‘Mum and Dad’ rather than full-time carers.
LauraLynn’s model of care is a synthesis of national and international evidence and best practice. Services are delivered in partnership with the child’s hospital and community teams in the hospice, at hospital, in the community, or in the family home, depending on the child and family’s preference. Children can be referred from anywhere in Ireland, by families, medical professionals, GPs, Public Health Nurses, Early Intervention Teams or School Teams.
The services currently provided include:
- Planned Short Breaks (Respite)
- Unplanned Crisis/End of Life Care
- Symptom Management
- Family Support
- Bereavement Care
In addition to hospice care, LauraLynn provides residential and respite care and support to the adults and children in the disability service (Children’s Sunshine Home). In keeping with the national policy for disability care, new referrals are no longer accepted but care continues to the adults and children for as long as LauraLynn remains their home.
LauraLynn is a registered charity and a HSE Section 38 service provider of disability residential and respite care for adults and children. The highest standard in clinical and corporate governance is vital and LauraLynn is in compliance with the Statement of Guiding Principles for Fundraising, the HSE Compliance Statement, HIQA Regulations and has adopted the Governance Code for Community, Voluntary & Charitable Organisations. In addition, LauraLynn has recently implemented the Statement of Recommended Practice for Financial Reporting for Charities (SORP).
The vision for LauraLynn is to provide hospice care to all children that need it. Service innovations such as the implementation of the LauraLynn@HOME have enabled LauraLynn to extend their reach to children and families in the comfort of their own home. Leveraging technology, such as an Electronic Health Record (EHR) system, the Oneview platform and, more recently, Double Robotics helps to maximise resources and increase the availability of hospice care. But sustained expansion is vital to meet the existing and future requirements of those children and families who need hospice care. The cost of running LauraLynn is more than €8m each year and while a degree of support comes from the HSE, the vast majority of funding continues to come from the generosity of donors, fundraisers and corporate sponsors.