The children's hospice at home nursing team is funded by The Pepper Foundation and is managed by Rennie Grove Hospice Care. The team (known as the Pepper Nurses) offers specialist palliative nursing care to children and young people up to 19 years of age with a life-threatening or life-limiting illness. The nurses work with families to provide care and support for each child in their own home and the on-call service is available 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year. The team works in partnership with all other professionals involved with the child and family to ensure co-ordination of care. This means that patients and their families feel supported and in control. They know a Pepper Nurse is never more than a phone call away.
Watch the Pepper Children's Hospice at Home nurses at work!
‘You could almost open the door to a Pepper children’s nurse then walk out – they’ll know just what’s needed.’ Tim, father of Sophie, a Pepper nursing team patient
The service is provided free of charge for children throughout North West Hertfordshire and the Chilterns area of Buckinghamshire and is responsive, flexible and tailored to meet the needs of individual families.
In 2015 Ann was recruited to the nursing team which has enabled support to be offered to more families in North West Hertfordshire - the service has expanded into St Albans and Harpenden.
Care and support may include:
- Symptom control and management with specialist paediatric palliative care medical support
- Hands-on nursing care
- End of life care to enable a child and family to remain in his or her own home when they want to
- Short break care, usual around three hours. May include social activities for the child where appropriate
- 24/7 telephone link which families can access for advice, support and visits when required
- Emotional support for the child and the family
- Pre and post bereavement support for parents
- Sibling support in the form of one-to-one sessions and/or as part of the Pepper Sibling Group
- Support with transition into adult services
We recognise that a terminal illness does not just affect the patient; the rest of the family are also affected. Family support has always been an integral part of the team's philosophy of care.
Families incur no charge for using the service
The paediatric service receives less than 20% in statutory funding. As a registered charity, Pepper relies heavily on the generosity of the local community to fund the remaining 80% and we need to raise a minimum of £450,000 annually.
It costs around £230 a day to keep a Pepper nurse on the road.