Acorns Children’s Hospice in the West Midlands has become one of the first children’s hospices in the UK to publish its emergency plans in response to the deepening coronavirus pandemic.
The charity, which cares for life limited children and their families, has moved quickly in support of the emergency effort to help some of the most vulnerable families in the region, and directly support the NHS Covid-19 response.
The plan will involve a temporary closure of its hospice in Birmingham, which, due to its location close to large acute trusts in the city, will be formally offered as a Covid-19 facility for patients of any age. Staff from the hospice will be redeployed to other Acorns hospices based in Walsall and Worcester.
Acorns in the Black Country, the charity’s hospice based in Walsall, will be offered for children with complex medical needs currently being looked after in local hospitals, providing a safe environment for those children whilst helping the NHS maximise their own intensive care capability. Acorns Chief Executive, Toby Porter, said:
“In these unprecedented times, Acorns is stepping-up. These plans will allow us to continue to prioritise children’s hospice care for the most vulnerable children and families, whilst directly or indirectly supporting the wider emergency response of our NHS and social care system, by increasing intensive care bed capacity in our hospitals.”
As part of the emergency measures, Acorns will provide:
- End of life care for any child or young person that needs it
- A safe and secure environment for any child with life limiting or life threatening illness or condition, who cannot be looked after at home
- A safe and secure environment at Acorns in the Black Country, Walsall, for children with complex conditions currently being cared for in local hospitals, helping NHS hospitals maximise their own intensive care capability to respond to new Covid-19 patients.
- Emotional and practical help to the 600 or so families of children normally cared for at Acorns, and who are almost all now self-isolating at home in very difficult conditions.
Toby added: “We will continually review Acorns services in light of the emergency and there will be a need for our specialist staff and volunteers to show great flexibility as the situation evolves.
“Acorns is proud to have the opportunity at this time of national emergency to continue to provide our highly specialised children’s hospice care and to support our NHS partners. We’re all in this together, and our communities must continue to work together to fight this infection and be there for the most vulnerable.”
In the past year Acorns has cared for over 780 children and more than 1,000 families, including those who are bereaved. The charity relies on donations and fundraising to continue providing its services.
To find out more about Acorns, and to support the charity’s emergency response, visit acorns.org.uk.