Parents caring for children with life-limiting conditions have become totally exhausted, isolated and worried because of the pandemic.
More than 85pc of these parents are struggling, according to a survey by LauraLynn, Ireland’s Children’s Hospice.
There are 3,840 children in Ireland living with a life-limited condition and 1,900 of these have palliative care needs.
Almost 95pc of parents reported an increase in stress caring for their child and six in 10 of the parents reported feeling a great deal more isolated during the pandemic.
The survey was carried out to mark National Children’s Hospice Week.
Kerry McLaverty CEO of LauraLynn has described the findings as “both worrying and concerning”.
LauraLynn has moved its specialist care and supports online to try and help both parents and children feel less isolated.
This Virtual Children’s Hospice is in addition to continued care through respite, short breaks, crisis care and end of life care to support families.
Nearly two thirds of parents said they had benefited from the virtual supports which include Play Therapy, Music Therapy, Counselling and Symptom management. They also said that having access to phone support helped them feel less alone.
The virtual supports have been particularly helpful for families living far away from services where travelling with an ill child is difficult.
They also helped families who were coccooning and seven in 10 parents have said they will continue to coccoon even as society start to re-open.
Kerry McLaverty said they had supported 212 children and their families in every county of the country through 2020. “We are all too aware of the day to day challenges these families face.”
She invited the public to help raise awareness during National Children’s Hospice week and to “spread the message of the importance of children’s hospice care”.
LauraLynn relies heavily on the public’s support to fund their hospice services. Please support LauraLynn this Children’s Hospice Week by making a donation at lauralynn.ie/donate