What does LauraLynn do?
Lauralynn, Ireland’s Children’s Hospice provides palliative care to children (from 0-18) with life-limiting conditions and their families. We focus on enhancing quality of life which includes physical comfort and wellbeing, as well as the emotional, social and spiritual aspects of care. We offer an inclusive service that embraces all the family and all faiths, beliefs and cultures. We provide support from diagnosis to end of life and throughout bereavement with a range of nursing, practical, emotional and medical care. Care can be delivered in our hospice, at hospital, in the community or in the family home, depending on the child and family’s preference.
Who can be referred to LauraLynn?
Our core criteria are that the child should:
- Be under 18* at the time of referral.
- Have a medically diagnosed life-limiting condition and fall within one of the ACT/TFSL categories and requires or needs palliative care.
- There is a strong possibility of the child dying before the age of 18.
Please note, parental consent is required for the referral to be made, together with consent to obtain medical information about the child (or young person) from a paediatrician and/or GP.
*Young people referred at 16 years of age and over are considered individually depending on whether they are entering the final phase of their life and there are no alternative services available to match their choice of place of care.
Limited life expectancy in a child is defined as being the result of any condition, on its own or in conjunction with others, which makes it unlikely that the child will live beyond their (late) teenage years. Due to the nature of life limiting conditions, our criteria our flexible and we always consider children and families on an individual basis.
When can a referral be made?
Referrals can be from the point of diagnosis of a life limiting condition; or even antenatally. Referrals may also be made for children who do not have a clear diagnosis, but whose medical history suggests that their life expectancy is likely to be reduced. Please do not feel that a child must be nearing end of life before referring, but do recognise that the family must be able to accept that their child’s life expectancy will be limited in order to feel comfortable in a hospice environment.
Who can make a referral to LauraLynn?
Anyone, including parents, involved in the care of a child can refer to LauraLynn.
Categories of Referral
Life-threatening conditions for which curative treatment may be feasible but can fail. Access to palliative care services may be necessary when treatment fails or during an acute crisis, irrespective of the duration of threat to life. On reaching long-term remission or following successful curative treatment there is no longer a need for palliative care services. Examples: cancer, irreversible organ failures of heart, liver, kidney.
Conditions where premature death is inevitable. There may be long periods of intensive treatment aimed at prolonging life and allowing participation in normal activities. Examples: cystic fibrosis, Duchenne muscular dystrophy.
Progressive conditions without curative treatment options. Treatment is exclusively palliative and may commonly extend over many years. Examples: Batten disease, mucopolysaccharidoses.
Irreversible but non-progressive conditions causing severe disability, leading to susceptibility to health complications and likelihood of premature death. Examples: severe cerebral palsy, multiple disabilities such as following brain or spinal cord injury, complex health care needs, high risk of an unpredictable life-threatening event or episode.
In order to help us further identify which children may have palliative care needs, we consider the following:
- Trajectory of disease/condition and impact on daily activities
- Expected outcome of disease directed treatment and burden of treatment
- Symptom burden
- Preferences of child, parents or healthcare professional
- Estimated life expectancy