Acorns Children’s Hospice in Birmingham reopened its doors for overnight stays this week – welcoming children for short breaks for the first time since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.
In March 2020, Acorns made the unprecedented decision to temporarily close its facility in Birmingham as part of the charity’s emergency response to the emerging coronavirus crisis, transferring care staff to its hospices in Walsall and Worcester which have remained open every day of the pandemic.
The Birmingham facility was offered to the NHS to provide additional beds for covid patients of all ages, if needed.
Acorns Family Services teams have provided much-needed emotional and practical support to over 600 families throughout the pandemic, including those from Birmingham who were also offered stays at the charity’s two open hospices.
The reopening of Acorns in Birmingham for overnight stays enables families to once again access this service from their local hospice – giving those who need it a chance to rest and recharge their batteries.
Lindsey Homer, Head Nurse at Acorns in Birmingham based in Oak Tree Lane, said: “I can’t express how over-joyed we are to welcome children back to their local hospice for overnight stays.
We know from speaking to parents and carers that the pandemic has been unbelievably challenging for many of the families we support.
“The local children and families who need us are the sole reason this hospice exists, and we’ve really missed having them stay with us. Seeing these corridors once again filled with laughter, smiles and lots of love brings so much joy – it’s what makes this hospice a home from home.”
Over the course of the pandemic, Acorns in Birmingham has gradually reintroduced day services at the facility, including vital hydrotherapy and music therapy sessions, as well as Stay and Play groups to help bring families together in a secure environment.
Families have also had access to the hospice gardens to enjoy precious time together in a safe outdoor space.
During the height of the crisis, Acorns staff and volunteers mobilised to deliver care packages of essential items directly to the front doors of families across Birmingham and the West Midlands who were shielding their poorly children at home.
Lindsey added: “I’m so proud of everything our hospice teams have achieved over the past 18 months. The level of care and support they have been able to provide during the most challenging conditions we have ever experienced at Acorns, is amazing.
“Our nurses and health care assistants have been incredible, agreeing to change their place of work from Birmingham to Worcester or Walsall. For most of them, this has involved significant additional travel time, and yet they have done this gladly.
“We look forward to welcoming more children and families back to Acorns in Birmingham as we continue to restore even more of our hospice services.”
Acorns made the decision to temporarily close its hospice in Birmingham – for the first time in its 30-year history – and offer the facility for use in the wider NHS response, due its close proximity to large acute trusts in the city.
The move allowed Acorns to continue to prioritise children’s hospice care for the most vulnerable children and families and adapt its services to meet the sudden demand for remote support.
Acorns Children’s Hospice relies on fundraising and donations to provide its lifeline care and support. It costs the charity £7,000 each day to run one of its three hospices.
To find out more about Acorns and its work providing care for life limited and life threatened children and support for their families, please visit www.acorns.org.uk
For more information or for interview, photograph or filming opportunities, contact the PR and Communications team:
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Notes to editors:
Due to the sensitive nature of Acorns care services it refrains from using the words ‘terminal’ or ‘terminally ill’ in its press releases and public communications when describing the children who use Acorns and the conditions that they have. Instead, Acorns uses the words ‘life limited’, ‘life limiting’, or ‘life threatening’. Acorns kindly requests that you respect this in your communications when referring to Acorns Children’s Hospice. Acorns children have a lot of living to do. Thank you.
- It costs £27,000 every day to run Acorns services providing care for children and support for their families. The charity relies heavily on donations to fund the majority of its activities.
- To find out more about Acorns, please visit www.acorns.org.uk