Acorns provides a holistic range of services for children who are life limited and life threatened. The services are available 24 hours a day, 365 days each year. Family members are also supported through a variety of services and support groups that promote well-being and resilience and reduce the need for crisis intervention.
Acorns delivers care that meets individual needs and families can choose the areas of service they wish to use. Services are allocated on a needs-led basis and are free to families at the point of delivery. There is no obligation for families to access services within a time frame, indeed some families choose to have only occasional contact with Acorns, secure in the knowledge that the service can be accessed at any point should their child deteriorate or their family circumstances change.
Acorns is registered with and regulated by the Care Quality Commission.
Each Acorns hospice is able to provide short breaks, emergency support and end of life care to life limited and life threatened children, from newborn up to 18 years.
All nursing and medical needs are met through a team of experienced children’s nurses and medical support. We work with other health professionals including GPs and health visitors to provide palliative care and psychosocial support for children and families.
Short breaks at Acorns encompass more than just medical care. Music therapy, physiotherapy and hydrotherapy are provided alongside activities and outings designed to be accessible, interactive and enjoyable to the child regardless of their disability or developmental limitations.
Complementary therapies are available to both children and families while volunteer befrienders provide an individual approach for stories and play. Special attention is paid to the needs of adolescents and peer support is well recognised, with young people often able to book short breaks with friends and others of similar age.
Emergency short breaks are also available to families in crisis, as are planned extended breaks for significant events. This could include attendance at religious festivals, pilgrimages, and family duties.
As a children’s hospice, Acorns provides nursing care and medical support at the end of life. This includes symptom management for the child in addition to support for family members and carers before, during and after death. The facility of cold bedrooms (special bedrooms) enables children to remain at the hospice after death allowing family members to leave their child in safe and familiar surroundings and to spend time saying goodbye in an informal and supportive environment.
Outreach Nurses at each hospice are responsible for identifying and supporting opportunities to support children and their families outside of the hospice. They coordinate and support hospice nurses and HCAs to deliver clinical care in the wider community, including family homes*. This is supplemented with offering increased home support (befriending, home care, complementary therapy, etc.) via a team of trained and supported volunteers.
Acorns is unable to accept new referrals beyond 18 years of age.
* Monday to Friday during term times
A maximum of two beds will be available to statutory agencies across the hospices at any one time. The contracts will provide either a step-down service to children and young people who meet the Acorns admission criteria or offer additional social support on contracts negotiated on an individual basis. This service will enable an earlier discharge from hospital to home and/or the specialist care provision and could be available to statutory agencies on a full cost recovery basis.