Lucy Allinson is 14 years old and has received care and support from EACH for more than a decade; both at Quidenham hospice and at her family home. Short break overnight and day care in the hospice and family home, music therapy and specialist play are just some of the services Lucy receives. Her parents Heather and Martin, as well as siblings Sophie and Max, have benefited from sessions with family support practitioners.
Lucy has epileptic seizures on a daily basis, and they’re difficult to control. Lucy also uses a wheelchair for mobility.
Heather said: “Lucy absolutely adores the sensory room at the hospice and she really benefits from music therapy.
“The hospice is also a great social environment as well as offering nursing care. Children who Lucy goes to school with also stay at the hospice. I’ve been to pick up Lucy before and seen her interacting with one of her school friends and passing toys back and forth to each other and I had a lump in my throat. It was lovely to see them having fun independently.
“Children like Lucy don’t get the opportunity to go to sleepovers or to their friends for tea, so the interaction she has at the hospice is priceless. The team know Lucy so well and they gear the activities and entertainment to what she likes. She’s a typical teenager and loves watching music TV channels; she also loves the wheelchair swing in the hospice garden.
“The play specialists are excellent, and really take Lucy’s needs into account. They do all sorts of fun things and I also get inspiration from the activities they organise. I can’t put into words how appreciative I am that Quidenham hospice exists because in all seriousness, when you’ve been flat out with a very poorly child, you don’t have time to stop and relax.
Last year Lucy had an 11 and a half operation to have spinal rods inserted, which Heather describes as ‘the longest 11 and a half hours’ of her life. There’s been a staggering improvement; Lucy is two inches taller and is much more comfortable. Staff from EACH came to visit Lucy and her family in hospital and had care sessions at home following her hospital stay, including specialist play which Heather says ‘makes Lucy’s day’.
The experienced EACH nurses, carers and family support practitioners support the whole family. Lucy’s siblings Sophie and Max, benefitted from sibling day activities when they were younger. Heather said: “They went to the local American air base and Max got to sit in a fighter jet – it’s a day they’ll never forget. Lucy has been on trips too and loves going to the zoo. EACH helps us to create lovely memories and has played an important part in all of our lives, not just Lucy’s.”
She has a great time at the hospice and we know she is well looked after and we can have the time to catch up on things. The care team know her well and understand how she communicates; knowing her signals for yes and no. They’re experienced with children with who have epilepsy too and it gives us confidence to know she’s well looked after.