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We are a West Midlands charity providing specialist short breaks to babies, children and young people with palliative care needs.  Established in 1988, 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 support groups that promote a healthy family 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 with no fixed allowance or annual limits 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 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.

How to make a referral to Acorns and our criteria

What does Acorns provide?

Each Acorns hospice is able to provide short breaks, emergency support and end of life care to life limited and life threatened babies, children and young people.

Short breaks at Acorns encompass more than just social care. Music therapy, physiotherapy and hydrotherapy are provided alongside activities, outings and arts and crafts all 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 and 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 and young people are often able to book short breaks with friends and others of similar age. Themed breaks are also offered for children with specific needs or interests. All nursing and medical needs are met through a team of experienced children’s nurses and medical support. Planned short breaks can extend from daycare through to a two week family holiday.

Emergency short breaks are also available to families in crisis, as are planned extended breaks for significant events. This would 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 additional to support for family members and carers before during and after death.  The facility of cold bedrooms (special bedrooms) allows children to remain at the hospice after death enabling the opportunity for family members to leave their child in a safe and familiar environment with access to spend time saying goodbye in an informal and supportive environment.

Acorns is unable to accept new referrals beyond 18 years of age.

Additional contracted services

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.



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