1. What is LauraLynn@HOME?
LauraLynn@HOME is a programme of hospice care, providing nursing and health care assistance to children with life-limiting conditions and their families in their own homes.
National and international evidence suggests that the majority of parents of children with life-limiting conditions wish to care for their child at home with the appropriate supports. This premise underpins the national policy for children’s palliative care. LauraLynn@HOME will bring the care and expertise currently available in LauraLynn House into the family home.
LauraLynn@HOME is a pilot project, which will be offered to children and their families living in two HSE regions: Dublin Mid-Leinster and Dublin North-East. Working alongside other care providers in the community, LauraLynn@HOME will provide hands-on care in the child’s family home. Additionally, families will be offered the support and care at LauraLynn House for planned respite, transitional, crisis and end-of-life care.
2. When did the programme launch?
LauraLynn@HOME began in June 2014, however desire for expansion is reliant on further funding.
3. Is there a difference in the care provided in the home and that at LauraLynn House?
Our aim is to provide the same high standard of care, regardless of whether a child is cared for in LauraLynn House or in their own home.
4. How many new staff members will work in LauraLynn@HOME during the pilot?
Each team will have a Team Leader, two Staff Nurses and two Health Care Assistants. To date, we have successfully recruited seven of the ten staff required with the remaining posts currently advertised.
5. Which regions will Lauralynn@HOME provide care for?
The two regions in our remit are Dublin North-East and Dublin Mid-Leinster.
- Dublin North-East covers: Cavan; Monaghan; Louth; Meath and North County Dublin
- Dublin – Mid-Leinster covers: South County Dublin; Kildare; Wicklow; Laois; Offaly, Longford and Westmeath
6. How much will the pilot project cost?
The pilot project which will run for 1 year at an estimated cost of €800,000. There are significant set-up costs, including transport, medical equipment, training and administration costs as well as the on-going staffing costs.
7. How is this being paid for? Are the HSE contributing to this?
Currently the HSE do not contribute to the provision of any of the services provided in LauraLynn House or the LauraLynn@HOME pilot project. As with all our care service at LauraLynn House, there is no cost to the child or family who will be availing of the care provided by LauraLynn@HOME.
The recent Ray D’Arcy TodayFM Half Million Half Marathon event raised over €600,000 which is being used directly to fund this project, but will require further fundraising efforts later in the year.
8. How many families can hope to receive care from the LauraLynn@HOME pilot?
It is difficult to provide an exact number of families who will be able to avail of LauraLynn@HOME, but it is estimated that approximately 50 families will be part of the pilot project.
9. If the pilot is successful, what needs to happen for LauraLynn@HOME to become nationally available?
Although LauraLynn is the first children’s hospice providing an in-home care service in Ireland, similar services are well established in other countries. While it is clearly envisaged that this service will be a success, it is hoped that this pilot programme will help clarify the best structure and format. Following an extensive review and evaluation of the programme, LauraLynn@HOME will be rolled out to other areas of the country on a phased basis. UCD are evaluating the programme and will provide independent analysis and recommendations.
10. Who is eligible for this service and how do families apply?
In order to be eligible for the LauraLynn@HOME pilot project, children must meet the standard admission criteria which is in place for LauraLynn, Ireland’s Children’s Hospice– please refer to our website: www.lauralynn.ie or email firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
For the purpose of the pilot, the child’s home must be in either Dublin Mid-Leinster or Dublin North-East.
However, all children who have been diagnosed within the criteria may not be suitable for the programme if for example the home environment is deemed not to be appropriate for the type of care provided (e.g. housing/environmental concerns) or if the care needs are assessed as not being able to be met by current resources.
In addition, due to the nature of the pilot and the size of each care team, only a limited number of children can be accepted into the programme.
Parents’ participating in the LauraLynn@HOME pilot will be asked for their agreement to participate in an evaluation of the service.
11. Will families receiving care in the home from LauraLynn also be eligible for respite care in LauraLynn House?
Research has shown that the majority of parents prefer to avail of care in the family home if possible. LauraLynn is Ireland’s only children’s hospice and children from any location in Ireland with medically diagnosed life-limiting conditions are considered for admission. It is envisaged that the majority of families will wish to access both services. Where families already receiving respite care at LauraLynn House, we may replace some of their allocation with our LauraLynn@HOME care programme.
12. What has the interest been in terms of recruitment? What qualifications do staff need to have?
LauraLynn@HOME received a great deal of interest during the recruitment phase and all applicants underwent a rigorous recruitment process. We have two very experienced team leaders with excellent skills in caring for children with life-limiting conditions and their families. In addition, each team has two posts for Registered Children’s Nurses and also two Healthcare Assistants. All staff recruited demonstrated their skill and commitment to children’s palliative care and excellent people skills.
13. Are the HSE and other external stakeholders aware of the LauraLynn@HOME pilot?
Engagement with the HSE has been undertaken at all levels. In addition to meeting with senior HSE staff with responsibility for palliative care nationally and regionally, stakeholder meetings with local staff were conducted in both areas. The Health Service Executive National Development Committee for Children’s Palliative Care also has a hospice at home sub-group where LauraLynn is represented by both Claire Quinn and Julie Ling. Stakeholder information meetings have already taken place with additional meetings planned with various care providers already working in the community.
14. What community supports are in place to accompany LauraLynn House?
It is widely recognised that community services for children with life-limiting conditions and their families are currently sporadic and at times insufficient to meet their needs. We recognise the fantastic work already being done by colleagues in the community including the recently appointed Children’s Outreach Nurses and The Jack and Jill Foundation, local disability and primary care services and adult specialist palliative care teams for example.
We continue to work closely with colleagues in acute, community and disability services to plan for the development of high quality care for children with life-limiting conditions.
We are strong advocates for the children in ensuring that whatever assistance families need to keep their child at home, should be given.
Through the establishment of a Department of Clinical Education & Research at LauraLynn, we are working to identify the training needs of healthcare staff nationally and we use our expertise to support these teams in the community to deal with issues that may arise with individual children with life-limiting conditions.
15. Are there plans to replicate this service in other parts of the country?
Our Vision is that ‘all children who need us can access us’. We will strive to achieve that vision and to meet the needs and wishes of children with life-limiting conditions and their families. It is our belief that all children who need it, deserve the care and support that a hospice facility like LauraLynn House can offer. In developing a pilot of home support, LauraLynn@HOME, we aim to bring hands-on care into the child’s home, working closely and collaboratively with our colleagues in other agencies to achieve this. The evaluation of this project will be invaluable in steering our strategic direction.
We also plan to develop an outpatient service, which will support families by limiting their need to travel long distances for appointments. We also have innovatively supported these families travelling to the acute children’s hospitals in Dublin, by providing respite care for their child the night prior to their appointment. This respite includes family accommodation for the whole family and eliminates the need for long stressful journeys on the day of their appointment.
16. What is the difference between this service and existing at home support – such as Jack and Jill and HSE nurses?
LauraLynn@HOME will provide hands-on care for children with life-limiting conditions in the family home including: respite, crisis and end-of-life care. LauraLynn will not replace existing services in the community but will be an additional service provided as part of the child’s over all care. LauraLynn@HOME will work in collaboration with and compliment the care provided in the community by other statutory and voluntary organisations.