Continuing care for young people

Three years after the official opening of Francis Lodge by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, the care of young people continues to be key to our support.

The Duchess of Cambridge meeting young adults and families in Francis Lodge

The Duchess of Cambridge at the official opening of Francis Lodge in October 2016.

For more than a decade Francis House Children’s Hospice has led the way in the children’s hospice movement by recognising the specific needs of the older children in its care.

Like only a handful of other children’s hospices, there is no upper age limit at Francis House.

This means that the young people with life-limiting conditions, can continue to be looked after, and access all the services available to them, until either they choose not to, or until they come to the end of their lives.

The alternative, to move or ‘transition’ them to adult services, can cause a great deal of uncertainty for the young people and their families.  Lasting friendships are made over many years, and trust built up with a care team who understand the needs of the whole family.

Fiona Southam at Francis House

Fiona Southam's son Mickie receives respite care in Francis Lodge.

Reassurance

Among the parents who consider Francis House to be part of her extended family, is Fiona Southam.

Fiona’s son, Mickie, has a progressive metabolic disease that affects his brain and muscles – but also makes him hyperactive. His parents are on constant alert and the family have been coming to the hospice for nearly fifteen years.

Fiona said: “My biggest fear when Mickie was coming up to eighteen years of age, was that the support would stop, but the staff reassured me, that once you are under the care of Francis House, you remain under their care.”

Duchess of Cambridge receives flowers from young person at Francis House

Age-appropriate

In October 2016, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge officially opened Francis Lodge. The seven bedroomed extension cost £3.5 million to build and is equipped with a large communal kitchen and lounge, multi-sensory and creative therapy rooms, en-suite bathrooms as well as a state-of-the-art cinema pod.

The Lodge started out as a four-bedroom house, opened in 2010, and provided a unique opportunity to involve the young people in the development of the new wing and care services.

Three years since the official royal opening, respite care is now provided to more than 155 young people over the age of 16, with different care and emotional needs. It has become a place where the teenagers and young people can relax, make friends and enjoy some independence with others their own age.

“Now Mickie is a young adult, he enjoys staying in Francis Lodge. It is so important to us as a family, to know that the support will be there for as long as we need it."

Fiona, Mickie's mum

Following the expansion of hospice services – including the recruitment of more nurses and the development of emotional and bereavement support – annual running costs reach £4.7 million.

Less than 12% of income comes from central Government.

See Francis Lodge for yourself

Supporters and members of the public are invited to a public Open Day on Saturday, November 2, 2019, from 10 am until 4 pm.

The hospice care team will be conducting tours of the fantastic facilities, giving supporters an opportunity to see how their donations make a difference. Merchandise, Christmas cards and refreshments will also be available throughout the day.

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