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One in four people are unaware of role of children’s hospices

One in four people show a ‘worrying’ lack of understanding about children’s hospices and palliative care, a survey shows.

One in four people show a ‘worrying’ lack of understanding about children’s hospices and palliative care, a survey shows.


   The Children’s Hospice Week poll found that 26% of respondents did not know which words
or phrases they would affiliate with children’s hospices and palliative care. Picture: iStock

The poll undertaken for Children’s Hospice Week, which runs until Sunday, highlights taboos around childhood death that risk isolating families.

UK charity Together for Short Lives asked people how they which words or phrases they would associate with children’s hospices and palliative care and 26% said they did not know how to answer the question.

Life-limiting condition

The survey of more than 1,500 adults, undertaken by YouGov, showed that over one in three people would not feel comfortable talking to a friend whose child had been diagnosed with a life-limiting or life-threatening condition.

More than a third of those surveyed have had, or know someone who has had, some experience of serious childhood illness or a child dying young, the survey found.

Together for Short Lives chief executive officer Barbara Gelb said: ‘It’s clear that there’s still a great deal of fear and uncertainty across society in talking to families who are coming to terms with the heart-breaking news that their child will die young.

‘People don’t know what to say. This is compounded by misunderstandings about children’s hospice services – with many feeling that they are dark places and just about end of life care.’

Unhelpful myths

The survey shows there are still unhelpful myths about children’s hospice care with people associating it with negative words or phrases like: ‘pain’, ‘suffering’, ‘tragic’ and ‘distressing’.

There are at least 49,000 children and young people in the UK living with a condition which means they may not reach adulthood.

Rachel Black: Turning up the volume on children’s palliative care


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