Short breaks at Acorns

Our specialist short breaks offer nurse-led clinical care for babies, children and young people with highly complex palliative care needs, providing day care for a few hours or a longer period of days/weeks as required. Most respite care short breaks are delivered in the hospice but can also be provided within a family’s home.

Each child has an individual care plan that is tailored for their medical, emotional, cultural, religious and spiritual needs, which is developed by an experienced and qualified multi-disciplinary team of professionals.

What’s provided on a short break?

Short breaks offer the opportunity for children and young people with complex health needs to be fully cared for by trained professionals. They may allow the whole family to be together and to be supported in the care of their child, or it may offer respite care solely for the child or young person. During an Acorns short break we provide:

  • Development and delivery of an individual care plan for each child, to include:
    • Medical management, including medication and treatment
    • Personal care needs
    • Pain management
    • Symptom control*
    • Dietary requirements (medical, cultural and religious)
    • Spiritual, religious or cultural needs
Hydrotherapy pool at Acorns Three Counties hospice
  • Specialist equipment within the hospice environment including beds and sleeping systems, hoists throughout the building, hydraulic baths, etc.
  • Physiotherapyhydrotherapy and complementary therapies by qualified professionals
  • Activities including arts and crafts, play, music and dance sessions
  • Visits from magicians, circus performers, petting zoos and theatre groups
  • The opportunity for outings, from a walk to the shops or cinema visit to a coach trip to the zoo or the beach
  • Age specific or themed activities including youth weekends and pre-school play groups
  • Access to facilities including multisensory rooms, hydrotherapy pools and spas, up-to-date IT equipment and landscaped gardens
  • The option of on-site family accommodation for families who need or choose to stay near their child

*Symptom management is the management of common symptoms associated with life limiting conditions. It is often used to refer to symptoms that are primarily physical, but in palliative care symptom management also includes attention to psychosocial and spiritual aspects of symptoms where appropriate.

“With Acorns, the staff know what his favourite things are, they know how to react to him based on his needs, they know when he’s likely to have a seizure, when he needs suctioning; all the additional needs he has. They can jump in and help him and make sure he’s calm and happy, and that’s the main thing.”

Catherine, Jack’s mum

What are the benefits of short breaks?

  • Enabling parents and families to take a break – this may be to recharge their batteries or spend time with other children for example
  • Providing the child or young person with an opportunity to enjoy social interaction and leisure facilities
  • Spending time with peers helps reduce isolation for a child or young person
  • Providing children and young people with therapeutic experiences that bring about cognitive stimulation
  • Encouraging confidence, independence and improved social skills in children and young people
A girl sits in a wheelchair at Acorns. She is smiling at an Acorns Nurse, who is holding her hand

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