This Sunday is Father's Day, a special time for many families, with people making a special effort to visit their father, send cards or deliver gifts. For our families the day can be extra special or poignant. It may have been the last Father's day they get to spend with their child, or it might be their first since losing a child.
Whilst many of us may have bought ties or socks for our Fathers this year, for the Fathers of children who use the hospice, often the most precious gift is a smile or a wave from their child. Some of the children we care for cannot communicate in the same way as other children, so we strive to provide ways children and their families can interact with each other.
Over at the House our Magic Carpet Room and Multi-sensory Room are both great examples of this. By stimulating the senses through light and touch, often we find children express themselves with a smile, or a tighter grip when holding hands, or an expressive sound.
And our Community Team try to bring some of this into families’ own homes too. We have portable sensory equipment that we can take on visits with us, and our Nurses and Care Support Workers know their families so well that they can be sure to bring a smile to child’s face with a favourite toy, book or song.
Days in the calendar like Father’s Day can be difficult for the parents and families we care for. Every day spent with their child is treated as a precious gift – something we should all remember to do.
To find out more about the care we provide for children with life-shortening conditions and their families here in East Sussex please visit www.chestnut-tree-house.org.uk/handsup.