Jack and Jill charity to care for children up to six
Children's charity Jack and Jill will extend their care for sick children up to the age of six under a new pilot scheme.
The charity, which currently provides home care for severely ill children up to the age of four, will be supported in the venture by KBC Bank.
The organisation will offer the pilot scheme to as many as 15 families, who are currently using its services, for six months next year.
It will then collate this data and send it to the HSE, as the charity asks it to support "a fully-fledged service for four to six-year-olds in Ireland".
It would cost the charity more than €1m if it was to extend the new service to all of the families it cares for each year.
"Under the new pilot scheme, KBC Bank has committed to matching funds raised by its 1,000 employees and 15 retail hubs around the country," a spokesperson said yesterday.
Jack and Jill tries to raise at least €2.7m annually to cover its nursing costs. It is currently providing up to 64 hours of home care nursing per month to 300 families around the country at a cost of €16 per hour.
One of the children who recently benefited from an extension in the age of care is Erika Cawley (5).
Her Jack and Jill nurse will now be funded by the HSE until she is six years old and her grandfather John O'Meara described the nurses as "saviours".
Erika was diagnosed with Dravet syndrome, a severe form of epilepsy, when she was younger. Erika's mother Lisa receives 40 hours of assistance per month. "It affects all parts of her social interaction and life," her grandfather explained.
"They saved our lives. If it wasn't for them, we'd still be up watching 'Dora' and 'Crystal Kingdom', because Erika just sleeps for 20 minutes."