The Contact Hospitals and Hospices Project provides vital information, advice and support from our expert Parent Advisers, to any family at GOSH with a disabled child – bringing them into our support network at a time when they are often shocked and confused.Background
Approximately 1 in 50 babies are born with a disability in the UK – half of these have additional needs or complex conditions. These families desperately need emotional and practical support. Hospital stays add a financial burden; Contact’s 2013 survey showed that 92% of families reported an increase in their living costs. Families face stress, social isolation and uncertainty over benefits and entitlements as a direct result of being in hospital.Strategy
The Contact Hospitals and Hospices Project was designed in response to this burden. In 2016 project delivery started at the first Trust to be specifically set up to meet this need – GOSH. Working alongside the Social Work Team, key issues for families are addressed via drop-in sessions and regular tailored information stands. Parent Advisers provide vital support covering all aspects of raising a disabled child; ranging from information on support groups, education, benefits, to advice on form filling, respite, and rights.Outcome
79% of family’s surveyed reported feeling better informed about the support available, 67% felt emotionally supported. 60% said they were more confident to tackle the challenges they face, and 90% reported they were provided with information about further help. Uptake from families has been high, project figures average 70 parents supported per quarter.Discussion
Outcomes from the project have been extremely positive, in response to this the project has now been rolled out nationwide, and is currently based at 8 children’s hospitals and departments – including Birmingham and Manchester Children’s Hospitals and the Evelina.