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Here to help – Introducing our new Family Companion

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Leading UK charity for children’s palliative care, Together for Short Lives, today launches the third edition of its number one resource for families, the Family Companion.

The Family Companion has been developed to help children with a life-limiting or life-threatening condition and their families get the care and support that they are entitled to, sitting alongside Together for Short Lives’ suite of support services, including a helpline and advocacy service, to provide a helping hand for families. It also signposts them to the services, agencies and professionals that can help along the way.

It is designed as a companion to The Together for Short Lives Core Care Pathway – a tool for professionals to help them to maintain the best standards and provide a framework and practical guidance for all professionals at key stages of a child’s care journey.

The Family Companion is split into six sections that reflect the six key standards of the Core Care Pathway. Families might not want to read the whole document at once, but having the information there to read when they do feel ready, can make facing these difficult issues a little less stressful.

The six standards are: The prognosis – sharing significant news; Transfer and liaison between hospital and community services; Multi-disciplinary assessment of a family’s needs; A child and family care plan; An end of life care plan and Bereavement support.

For each stage, The Companion looks at implications for families – what it means for them, what to expect, who can help and useful checklists.

Together for Short Lives has also developed a range of Family Factsheets to be used alongside this Companion, which offer more detailed information about specific topics e.g. Understanding Siblings’ needs, Children’s Hospice services and Transport.

As well as providing an overview of the care and support that families can expect to receive from their local services, it also details the processes whereby families can make a complaint if they feel they have not received the standard of support or care they are entitled to.

If families have questions or are finding it hard to cope, they can contact Together for Short Lives’ Helpline free on 0808 8088 100, from 7am-midnight, seven days a week.

The Family Companion can be downloaded for free

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