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P-64 Breaking down barriers: the development of neonatal pathways into a children’s hospice
  1. Jane O’Neill,
  2. Lauren Stoner-Harris,
  3. Vicky Arnold and
  4. Lavinia Jarrett
  1. Demelza, Sittingbourne, UK


Background A new role, reaching into a neonatal ward, geographically close to a children’s hospice, was created to increase referrals, provide support to families and raise service profile. Data informed us that referrals were significantly low and services misunderstood, by parents and professionals.

Aims To be responsive to the needs of extremely premature babies and their families and grow our referrals of neonates. To bring a social care model into a medical setting and work in partnership to ensure families received the right support at the right time, specifically earlier than the current offer. Review of pilot, impact on criteria referral to children’s hospice and influence new post-death pathway, plus building positive awareness relationships with all stakeholders.

Methods Work in collaboration with organisational teams, such as Service Development and external stakeholders, specifically the Neonatal to Home Outreach team. Collate data comparisons, identify needs, especially for those without diagnosis, create pathways of rapid access to Family Support, redefine criteria and create dedicated pathways for post-death, bereavement support.

Results This work is now the second largest referrer into this children’s hospice following a tertiary centre. The development and implementation of two new pathways, neonatal and post death, which has resulted in the significant difference in the types of referrals, moving away from end of life and towards psychosocial care and bereavement. Better informed staff, rapid administrative processes and access to Music Therapy on the neonatal ward.

Conclusion Support to families starts at the earliest opportunities, which is consistent at such an uncertain time. The family are the focus, with opportunities for peer-to-peer support and access to creative arts therapies for brothers and sisters. Additional bespoke memory events delivered and an increase in resources in order to mirror this work within a different hospital trust.

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