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Christopher's Children's Hospice Outstanding

Inspection Summary

Overall summary & rating


Updated 4 October 2016

Christopher’s Children’s Hospice is provided by Shooting Star Chase, which is a registered charity caring for babies, children and young people with life-limiting conditions, and their families. Christopher’s Children’s Hospice provides support from babies to young people up to the age of 21, they support families from diagnosis to end of life and throughout bereavement with a range of nursing, practical, emotional and medical care. Their care service includes overnight short breaks, Hospice at Home, day care, symptom management, end-of-life care, bereavement care and a comprehensive range of therapies and support groups for the whole family.

The hospice is a nurse led service and children and young people's health needs are met by a range of health professionals during their stay. This includes specialist children’s nurses, adult learning disability nurses, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, social workers and the care team. A local GP practice provides daily medical cover for the hospice to review children’s medicine and respond to any health needs. A children’s palliative care consultant oversees the symptom management and end of life care.

This inspection was carried out 28 and 29 July 2016 and was unannounced. Christopher’s Children’s Hospice is registered to provide bed based care for up to nine children at a time. At the time of our visit six children and young people were using the bed based unit and the hospice service had around 700 families registered as qualifying for the service.

There was a registered manager in place. A registered manager is a person who has registered with the Care Quality Commission to manage the service. Like registered providers, they are 'registered persons'. Registered persons have legal responsibility for meeting the requirements in the Health and Social Care Act 2008 and associated Regulations about how the service is run.

Christopher’s Children’s Hospice is an outstanding service. It is focussed on the individual needs of the children, young people and parents who they support, at the time they need it in a way and place that best suits them and their whole family. Parents spoke overwhelmingly of the positive support, guidance and healthcare interventions their children had received. They were full of praise for the staff in terms of their kindness, compassion and knowledge about end of life matters. Parents viewed the staff as experts in their knowledge and skills when supporting children and young people with complex health needs.

Staff were playful, full of energy and maintained a high level of engagement with children, young people and their parents and parents consistently told us how much they valued the normality of the service and the effort staff made to ensure their children had the same experiences as other children.

Parents and professionals spoke of a service that was tailor-made for children and their families saying that staff went ‘the extra mile’ with empathy and compassion. Throughout the end of life care of children and young people parents were given information and kept involved to enable their children to continue to receive parent led care. Informed consent was embodied into all work that was undertaken at the hospice. The various departments within this hospice worked well together so that people had a seamless experience of moving from one department to another as the need arose.

The end of life support provided was highly personalised and tailored to meet the needs and wishes of each individual child, young person and their family with sensitivity and compassion. The hospice was supportive of family’s spirituality. They strived to offer support that recognised spirituality as that ‘which connects us to each other and includes whatever gives each person meaning, purpose, value, self -worth and hope’. Staff were sensitive to parents’ individual spiritual needs and thought of ways to meet these needs when they experienced difficult times.

Staff wer

Inspection areas



Updated 4 October 2016

The hospice was safe.

Staff knew how to protect people from abuse or harm. Parents and health care professionals felt children and young people were safe and trusted using the service. There were sufficient staff on duty to meet children and young people's needs safely.

Any health and safety or individual risks were identified and action was taken to keep children and young people as safe as possible. The staff team learned from any accidents or incidents to reduce the likelihood of a similar event occurring again.

Recruitment processes for new staff were robust to ensure they were suitable to work with vulnerable people.

Medicines were administered safely. Processes were in place to ensure that children and young people received their medicines as prescribed.



Updated 4 October 2016

The hospice was effective.

Staff were skilled in their roles and had the knowledge to meet the complex health needs of the children and young people effectively.

Staff were aware of and worked within legislation relating to children and young adult�s consent to care and treatment, so that their rights were protected. Staff supported children and young people to make choices about their everyday lives.

Mealtimes were family orientated. Children and young people were appropriately supported and encouraged to eat and drink a balanced diet that met their individual needs, preferences and wishes.



Updated 4 October 2016

The hospice was exceptionally caring.

Children and their families were supported by kind and compassionate staff in a way that respected their privacy and dignity.

Staff had developed good relationships with children, young people and their family and there was a happy, relaxed and energetic atmosphere throughout the hospice.

Parents and their children were involved in planning their care which included what they would like at the end stages of life. Parents told us this was done sensitively and at a pace that was appropriate to them. Support was offered to bereaved families and contact maintained if this was what the family wanted.

The spiritual needs of children, young people and their families were supported in whichever way they wanted taking account of what gave them meaning and hope.



Updated 4 October 2016

The hospice was outstandingly responsive to the needs of children, young people and their families.

Children and young people were supported to pursue activities and interests that were important to them.

The hospice worked innovatively in partnership with other agencies to respond to the needs of the children and families in their local community, for example the hospice had worked with the local neo-natal team to provide care to new born babies at the end of their lives..

Information was shared effectively when children and young people moved between services. Young adults were supported to move to appropriate adult hospice services that understood their needs.

Complaints investigations were very thorough and the hospice used complaints to challenge their practice and improve the service.



Updated 4 October 2016

The hospice was outstandingly well-led.

There was excellent leadership. The registered manager had developed and sustained a positive culture encouraging staff and parents to raise issues of concern with them and to be involved in improving the hospice.

The values and aims of the hospice were visible throughout the service and were developed and sustained through creative and innovative methods.

The service worked in partnership with other organisations to make sure they were following current practice and providing a high-quality service. They strived for excellence through consultation and reflective practice. We saw evidence of the hospice sustaining their outstanding practice and improvements over time.