Friday 20 April 2018

'Hundreds of children need hospice care in Ireland' - Children's Hospice seek funding to expand services

The LauraLynn children's hospice Photo:
The LauraLynn children's hospice Photo:

Daniel O'Connor

Children’s Hospice LauraLynn has said there are an estimated 550 sick children in Ireland in need of hospice care that do not have access to it.

Speaking on National Children’s Hospice week, the LauraLynn foundation said that current restrictions mean they are unable to offer their services to everybody in need.

LauraLynn currently provides hospice care to children with life-threatening illnesses and their families free of charge.

Services range from nursing care, to short-stay breaks at their facilities to therapy programmes such as play therapy, music therapy and psychological and bereavement support to family members.

The hospice, based in Foxrock Dublin 18, currently receives €5.2m in funding, €3.5m of which comes solely from fundraising efforts.

Speaking to, LauraLynn Marketing and Communications Executive, Breda Cuddihy, spoke about how that funding cannot provide care to everyone who needs it.

“We have 150 families we work with on an ongoing basis and we would work with both the child and their family,” Ms Cuddihy said.

“There are 3,800 children in Ireland currently living with a life-threatening condition and we estimate there are currently 700 of them need hospice care so they could avail of our services. We need €3.5m a year just to continue providing our current service.”

The Health Service Executive (HSE) currently provides funding to LauraLynn, although the majority of this is invested into staff costs and a separate disability service provided by LauraLynn.

Speaking to, Chief Executive Officer of LauraLynn, Sharon Morrow, said that talks are ongoing between the hospice and the Department of Health to secure state funding towards expanding hospice care beyond the 150 families they currently cater to.

“When we reach 200 families, we won’t have the capacity or space to cater to any more than that,” Morrow explained.

“There are currently referrals we don’t get from certain families because they’re just too far away. Any family who has a child with care needs or who life is limited, the chances are they have a lot of equipment they need to get up to Dublin… for many it’s just not viable to get to us because they’re just too far away.”

Ms Morrow confirmed that Minister for Health, Simon Harris, has visited the facility and is co-operating to come up with a plan to make available the funding needed to expand their services to other areas of the country.

“The Minister is very positive about coming up with a plan for children’s hospice care. What he’s looking for now is data to know about the areas in greatest need and if we were put a plan in place, would we be able to provide access to the children that need hospice care,” Morrow said.

“I’m very optimistic, everyone is committed to come up with a plan but we need to see the plans move on fast. We don’t have time when there are children around the country that can access our service that don’t have the luxury on time.”

Children’s Hospice week takes place between May 22 to May 26 and sees LauraLynn partner with TV3 shows such as Ireland AM, Xpose and Elaine to promote awareness and fundraising for children’s hospice care. have contacted the HSE for a comment.

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