Richard House – London’s First Children’s Hospice

A couple of weeks back I attended an exhibition at Olympia. It was for my job and not related to special needs or disability in any way. So I was quite surprised to find an exhibition stand in one corner of the hall, manned by a lady with a glove puppet, and it appeared to be be promoting a hospice. Intrigued I went over and started talking the lady who turned out to be the communications officer for Richard House.

Richard House is a purpose built children’s hospice in east London. Its core purpose is to accompany families with children and young people life-threatening conditions or complex healthcare needs, during the child or young person’s journey through life to death, creating positive experiences along the way which become good memories for the future.

Richard House operates a strong non-discriminatory policy and welcomes referrals from all ethnic, cultural and sexual orientational backgrounds.

The hospice helps children and young people make the most of the time they have, providing the opportunity for play and recreational activities and offering assistance to parents and siblings.

All Richard House’s services are completely free to families. The services on offer include:

  • Short-break Residential Respite Care: All children/young people are offered up to 21 nights of pre-bookable respite care per year.
  • Emergency/End-of-life Stays: Richard House operates an emergency bed system which allows us to respond to an emergency request at short notice.
  • Day Care: Richard House offers a limited amount of day care where your child can come for a few hours after school or a whole day and participate in activities alongside the children who are resident.
  • Family Support: Richard House is able to provide emotional and practical support to all family members, from counselling to sibling support groups.
  • The Young Adults Group: A new initiative to help our past and present users over the age of 17 deal with transition issues.

The Richard House website has some terrific and case studies which I have linked to here. Moving and inspirational.

1 comment to Richard House – London’s First Children’s Hospice

  • Austen

    Subsequent to my post Kelly, the communications officer I had spoken with, sent me the following. Kelly, I hope you don’t mind my adding this as a “comment”:

    Richard House Children’s Hospice has been providing specialist care to children from London and the Home Counties since 2000. These services are for children with life-limiting, life-threatening and complex healthcare conditions and focuses on holistic care for them and their family. All services that Richard House provides are free of charge.

    Many of the children who use the hospice’s services are not expected to reach adulthood and they and their families enjoy a wide variety of experiences at Richard House. The hospice offers day care, short-residential stays and support in the home to children from birth until their 20th birthday. There is always one bed set aside for emergency and end-of-life care.

    Other services include family support, bereavement services and a siblings group.

    Specialist facilities include a multi-sensory room, a transition young adults group for hospice users from 16 to 25 years, and a long-term ventilation service.

    Since opening Richard House has prided itself on diversifying and evolving to meet the needs of its community so that those children and families that are in need of the most care are provided it.

    The hospice believe that the best way to deliver this care is through one-to-one nursing so that each child receives individual support and can guide their sessions at Richard House, which can be through music, arts and crafts, cooking, going shopping, or making their own movie. The opportunities are endless. Senior nurse Neil Williamson said: “For me Richard House is a place where individuals are cared for by individuals, where laughter and fun is most definitely the best medicine.”