Here are some of the common questions we’re asked about the work we do at The Donna Louise and the services we provide . . .
Q: What does The Donna Louise do?
A: The Donna Louise provides care and support services for children and young adults with shortened life expectancy or those who, due to illness or injury have a life-threatening or life-limiting condition.
Q: What do you offer?
A: We offer a wide range of care services, which include day care and overnight stays at the hospice or in the family home, community support, counselling and emotional support, including bereavement support, end of life care in the family home or hospice, play, music and art therapy and parent and carers support groups.
Q: What ages of children do you look after?
A: We care for children and young adults of all ages, from babies to young adults.
Q: Do you only look after children with Oncology illnesses?
A: No, we offer care and support to children with a variety of life-limiting and life- threatening conditions, which may be as a result of illness or injury. This includes children with conditions such as Metabolic, Epilepsy, Muscular Dystrophy, Heart Conditions, Spinal Muscular Atrophy, Cerebral Palsy and associated problems, benign brain tumours (Neurofibromatosis).
Q: What makes the service you offer special?
A: Every child is recognised as an individual with their own needs, likes and dislikes, strengths and abilities. Our specialist staff are able to see beyond their illness and disabilities to see the young person inside, and everything they do centres around making the most of the time that the children spend with us.
Q: Who provides the care?
A: Our care staff includes children’s nurses, learning disabilities nurses (with experience of working with children), care support staff, play and music specialists, and counsellors.>
Q: Do they only offer care in the Hospice?
A: No, while a lot of our care is given within the hospice, we also work out in the community and often spend time in a family’s own home. This means we’re able to provide flexible care and support to meet their particular needs.
Q: How are families referred?
A: Anyone can refer a child to us. A family friend, a family member or a professional or of course you can refer yourself. We do ask that the family has given their permission to be referred.
We’ll accept referrals at all stages of a child’s condition and we’re happy to receive referrals by telephone, letter, fax or e-mail.
Q: Is The Donna Louise open every day?
A: We know that caring for a child or young adult with complex medical needs is exhausting which is why we’re currently open every day. Every service we offer is dependent on us raising enough money each year – currently more than £3.5million. We are always open 24/7 when end of life care is needed.
Q: How many families are you giving support to?
A: We support more than 240 families across Staffordshire and Cheshire. That’s 240 children and young adults with 392 brothers and sisters. In addition, we’re also supporting nearly 70 bereaved families.
Q: How much does it cost each year to keep your services going?
A: Each year we need to raise more than £3.5 million to continue to offer our services. We rely almost entirely on fundraising and the help of our very generous supporters.
Q: Does the Government and Local Authorities give you this money?
A: A small part of our funding, approximately 8% comes from statutory funding. The rest of the money we need each year comes from fundraising and our very generous supporters. The recent Health Reforms may open up other opportunities, such as Contracted Packages.
Q: What is a Contracted Package?
A: With our level of skills and expertise, we are able to provide care and support to children and families with care packages, which are funded by their local Health and/or Social Care Authority. These care packages may include transitional care for children with long-term ventilation needs as well as helping to ensure that children can be provided care in their local area instead of having to travel a long distances to access services.
Q: Where do you get the rest of the money from?
A: As a registered charity, we rely on the generosity and help of supporters and businesses across Staffordshire and Cheshire.