Helen & Douglas House Awarded ‘Outstanding’ Rating by CQC

today24/11/2023 19

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In a significant achievement for pediatric palliative care, Helen & Douglas House Children’s Hospice in Oxford has been rated ‘outstanding’ by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) following their inspection on 18th July 2023. This prestigious recognition places them in the top echelon of UK independent health providers, as only 10% receive such a rating according to the CQC State of Care report 22/23.

Exemplary Service in Pediatric Palliative Care
Helen & Douglas House has made a profound impact in Oxfordshire and surrounding areas, providing comprehensive support to terminally ill children and their families. In the last year, they have significantly increased their outreach, offering 541 supportive stays at their hospice.

Highlights from the CQC Inspection
The CQC inspection revealed several key strengths of Helen & Douglas House, including:

Tailored care plans for each child, including those with protected characteristics.
Efficient pain relief and ongoing pain level monitoring.
A robust system for learning from incidents to improve future care.
Understanding and respecting the diverse needs of children, young people, and their families.

Roger James, CQC deputy director for the south, expressed his admiration:

“When we inspected Helen & Douglas House, we found a service where staff were very knowledgeable about the children and young people they looked after. They knew how to support children, young people and their families in an individual, personalised way and this was reflected in the level of detail in patient care plans”.

“The service was leading the way nationally in educating third parties on the complex needs of paediatric palliative care. Leaders encouraged innovation and staff participation in research. We saw some staff were on numerous boards that led to the implementation of guidance and legislation and were members of national committees relating to the paediatric palliative care.

“This was supported by a skilled leadership team, who led by example to promote an open and person-centred culture. We saw numerous examples of staff going the extra mile, especially regarding make a wish requests. For example, staff arranged for llamas to be brought into the garden where a child or young person and their family were able to walk and feed them. Staff set up a fair ground including rides, in the grounds. Children’s television characters and presenters as well as famous footballers have also attended the site”.

“The team at Helen & Douglas House should be really proud of the care they’re providing. Other service providers should look at this report to see if there’s anything they can learn about supporting people during such a difficult time in their lives.”

Family Perspectives
Nadia Slatch, who has been associated with Helen & Douglas House since 2014, shared her heartfelt thoughts:

”I am so delighted that Helen & Douglas House has been rated ‘outstanding’ by the CQC which is not a surprise to families like mine who rely on the excellent care and support they provide which is a lifeline. Never in a million years did we expect to be a family that needed a children’s hospice. No family imagines it will be them. But it was for us, twice over. For me it is a home-from-home, somewhere I can relax knowing Rayyan is in the best of hands. I trust them to do a wonderful job and I can never thank them enough.”

Leadership’s Response to the Recognition
Jane Long, CEO, expressed her pride in the team’s achievement:

“We are delighted that the exceptional care we provide to local families has been recognised as ‘outstanding’ by the CQC. Helen & Douglas House is committed to providing world-class care to local families and their children. I am very proud we are leading the way in paediatric palliative care through research, evolving services and meeting the increasing need for the services we provide.

“It is testament to the great leadership of our Clinical Director, Andrea Lambert, Dr Emily Harrop, Medical Director and Clare Periton, our former CEO, who along with the clinical team have made this possible. I am very proud of the hard work and dedication shown by everyone who works at Helen & Douglas House, who ensure we provide a vital lifeline to local families 365 days a year.

Andrea Lambert, Clinical Director, reflected on the significance of this recognition:

“It is wonderful to receive this external recognition which reflects the positive comments we receive from the families we care for and supports our aim to be world-class.

“This ‘outstanding’ rating recognises our approach of putting the families we care for at the heart of everything we do. We design an individualised care plan for each family, tailored to their needs. We have increased our engagement with families to ensure they influence the care they receive and how the service we provide develops.

“We have also increased our service offer in innovative ways to reach as many families as possible. Care we provide at Helen & Douglas House touches many aspects of a child and family’s needs with our service encompassing in-house stays, specialist support at home, medical input, family and bereavement support, social work and specialist play.

“The vital care we provide is only possible through kind donations from the general public so if you would like to help more local families, please donate to our Christmas Appeal at or come to our Christmas Shopping Preview Day on Sunday 26th November at our charity shops.”

Written by: Hamish Law

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