Every week we receive new referrals for children and families who require support from the only children’s hospice in Sussex.
We will accept referrals from nurses, doctors, teachers, social workers, or even the child’s own family.
There are two types of referral; the first is a fast-tracked service for children who are at the end of their life, or in some cases have already died. These are reviewed or accepted immediately, so the child may be with us in hours, or we may send a team out to the child’s home straight away.
The second type of referral takes a bit longer, as we have to determine whether or not each child meets our criteria to be accepted onto our caseload. Our funding is limited so we have to make every penny stretch to help as many children as we can.
When we receive a referral, we first have to get permission from the child’s parents to get medical information from their doctors. As well as asking doctors for medical updates on that child’s condition, we also have to ask them whether the child is likely to live into adulthood. If the answer is yes then unfortunately we would not be able to proceed.
As a charity, and with limited resources available, we have to do what we say we do; which is to provide care and support for life-shortened children who are not expected to live into adulthood.
Chestnut Tree House, in Dover Lane, Arundel, cares for over 280 children and young adults from 0-25 years of age with progressive life-limiting conditions.
For more information on Chestnut Tree House visit the website www.chestnut-tree-house.org.uk