Simon Cowell is backing a major campaign to raise awareness of the children’s hospice sector in the UK following research which reveals widespread misunderstanding about the care available for children not expected to reach adulthood.
When asked to name an organisation that cares for children with life-limiting conditions, more than seven out of ten people did not cite children’s hospice.
The research, conducted by Children’s Hospices UK as part of this year’s Children’s Hospice Week, also found a general lack of awareness of the wide range of services offered by children’s hospices. Just four in ten people are aware that children’s hospices provide ‘at home’ care and less than half are aware of the support provided to the siblings of children cared for by children’s hospices.
The majority of people surveyed cited cancer as the reason children may be cared for by a hospice. Although not incorrect, only a small number of children supported by a children’s hospice are affected by cancer, with the majority having a wide range of complex neurological and metabolic conditions which deteriorate over a period of many years.
However, there was considerable consensus on where the funding for children’s hospices should come. 80% of adults believe that children’s hospices should be funded by the government. The sector currently receives on average only 15% of its funding from the government.
Children’s Hospices UK are concerned that the low awareness and understanding highlighted by this research could mean that some families are missing out on the valuable services on offer.