A virtual hospice service set up by Children’s Hospices Across Scotland (CHAS) has received high praise from families as it marks its first anniversary.
The virtual hospice provides extensive care to hundreds of families, such as clinical guidance, financial advice or bereavement support.
‘Determined wee girl’
The Sneddon family from South Lanarkshire has been supported by the virtual hospice throughout the pandemic.
Six-year-old Sia has rare neurological condition Aicardi syndrome, which causes seizures and developmental delays.
Her mother Sally says Sia has responded well to the virtual hospice, despite initial concerns.
She said: “Sia loves virtual storytelling with Elaine, a volunteer from CHAS.
“At first we weren’t sure she would be able to use Zoom as Sia has a visual impairment but she made it very clear from the start that she could absolutely do it.
“She’s a very determined wee girl.”
She added: “CHAS has been amazing this year. The team’s attitude is very much ‘how can we do that’ rather than ‘we can’t do that.’
“They’ve not let a global pandemic stand in their way.”
CHAS Family Support Teams also offer an expanding range of interactive activities including music therapy, youth groups and face to face care calls to children and parents.
As lockdown measures ease, the service continues to reach hundreds of families at any one time, and has become an integrated and essential part of CHAS’s services.
Chief Executive at CHAS Rami Okasha said: “The CHAS virtual hospice service was set up in record speed just over a year ago to give the children and families that we care for a lifeline in what has been an incredibly difficult time.
“Many of the families we support were, and some still are, self-isolating with their usual support systems cut off.
“We set out to be there for those families and remind them that they are never alone.
“Keeping the joy alive is at the very heart of everything we do at CHAS and it’s the unwavering dedication of our supporters that has kept our services running.
“For this, we’re incredibly grateful.”