Helping young adults with life-limiting conditions to build a network of friends is the focus of a new service at Derian House Children’s Hospice.
Derian House has joined forces with charity LifeNoW for the new project that aims to smooth the transition from children’s to adult services.
A member of staff will dedicate their time to making sure young adults can enjoy an active social life and get the support they need to lead a fulfilling life in the outside world.
“When a young adult reaches their 26th birthday, they are no longer able to access services at Derian House and, although their care needs can be met by adult services, they can find themselves feeling socially isolated,” said Lynn Grayson, Clinical Director at Derian House Children’s Hospice.
“Advancements in technology and medicine mean life expectancy for some people with complex conditions is improving, and we are seeing more and more young adults facing this situation. Where they once enjoyed coming to Derian for respite stays, social visits and emotional support, they can find themselves socially cut off and spending more time alone.” She added.
The partnership is believed to be the first of its kind in the sector and is based on a shared vision for helping children and young people live their best life now, no matter what difficulties they face.
LifeNow has funded the special member of staff to work at Derian House for one year, with possibilities of rolling out the programme further.
The newly-appointed LifeNow Transition Support Worker, Shelley Baron, will work with more than 20 young people at Derian House, helping them to build supportive social networks in the outside world and ensuring they have as much support as possible from agencies.
“I am passionate about the needs of young adults and helping them to make a rich and fulfilling social life in which they are supported outside the hospice setting,” said Shelley, who took up the post in September.
George Thomas, Co-Founder and Trustee at LifeNow, said: “We appreciate that even with the best NHS and local services there can be challenges in the transition from children’s to adult services, and this is what we aim to bridge.
“This is the beginning of a very exciting time and we are really proud that this excellent project has come to fruition. What this new service provides is hope and not just for those young adults immediately involved, but for younger families who will see provision being made for their children in the future.”