More children living with life-shortening conditions

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Chas is adapting its service to support every family who needs help

9th September 2020 by Gavin Stuart 0 Comments

The number of babies, children and young people in Scotland with life-shortening conditions is rising, a new report has revealed.

Research for Children’s Hospices Across Scotland (Chas) found there were more than 16,700 people aged 21 and under with terminal conditions in the county, 2,000 of whom have conditions described as unstable or deteriorating.

The report, delivered by Public Heath Scotland, revealed that children with a life-shortening condition are 50% more likely to be living in a deprived area than an affluent one.

It also found that the number of children and young people with these conditions is growing, in part because of better treatments.

In a bid to ensure more people can access its services, Chas has launched a new plan to reach every family in Scotland who needs help. Working with the NHS, councils, charities and other partners, the charity will concentrate its efforts where they can have the most impact, amongst children who are least stable.

Rami Okasha, CEO of Chas, said: “Knowing your child is going to die is the hardest thing. This data is absolutely key when it comes to informing how we provide palliative care for children and families across Scotland. Children and families tell us that they want Chas to be there wherever they are and our new strategic plan sets out our burning ambition to help every dying child in every part of Scotland. It is built around the themes of care, people, growth and partnership.

“As medicine advances, more children with life-shortening conditions are living longer. They, and their families, need our care and support over a longer period – sometimes years. At the same time, we are supporting many younger children and babies. Half of the children who have died from a life-shortening condition in the last five years were under five and over a third (34%) were under the age of one.”

Okasha added: “Keeping the joy alive is at the very heart of everything we do at Chas but the crisis is hitting us hard. It’s putting more strain on our resources and making fundraising harder than ever so we really need your support to keep our services running and help us adapt our care to those who need it most.”