Haven House is an incredible place to work as a children’s nurse. Each day we support children and their families in some of the most incredible ways imaginable.

We are there for the joyous moments such as seeing a child laugh whilst enjoying a ride on our disabled swing or reading a bedtime story to them last thing at night. Our hospice is a happy place filled with laughter and fun; but, of course there are some sad days when children we’ve cared for die.  

End-of-life care is one service which is a privilege to provide. We offer round-the-clock support to families who may wish to stay with us during their child's final days or hours. Our hospice is in secluded woodland next to Epping Forest and we have a family flat that gives families the privacy and space for them to be close to their child.

We also provide specialist bereavement and emotional support to families following the death of their child. No one expects their child to die before them – it is out of the natural order of things. Our specialist bereavement team is here to help at every stage of this difficult time. And this support continues for as long as families need us.

As part of our five-year strategy, Vision 2020, we are introducing more counselling to help families build resilience in the face of their daily challenges. This includes bereavement counselling which will support the whole family – mums, dads, brothers, sisters and grandparents – in line with our holistic ethos, helping families prepare for their child’s shortened life.

Working in a hospice means you come into contact with all members of a family. When the focus of families’ is on the child who is unwell, sometimes the impact on siblings can be overlooked. This is why we provide support to the siblings of children who use our hospice with our ‘Buddies’ service. This allows siblings to meet other brothers and sisters of children with life-limiting conditions and provides support to those who have experienced bereavement.

In Buddies, siblings can discuss common fears, joys and concerns and for some, share their feelings around grief. The service runs from various locations, with its base in the rainbow-coloured Buddies hut situated in our beautiful grounds.

Bereavement support can make a huge difference to our families and can give them strength and resilience to contemplate the future. The importance of this support can be seen in the sentiments of our families.

During the absolute worst times of our lives, you helped to make things bearable. In fact, they were much better than bearable – you helped us to enjoy every precious second with our beautiful boy and allowed us to create the most special and precious memories, that give us such comfort now.

Read Issac's story.

This is why I believe hospice care can be one of the most fulfilling areas to work in nursing. To help families during such difficult times is a huge privilege and everyone at Haven House works together to ensure the best experience possible for every family when time is precious.

You can find out more about our end-of-life services by clicking this link.

Eileen White is Director of Care at Haven House