Nine-year-old Vivien has a rare chromosomal abnormality which means she is visually impaired, has epilepsy and autism, global developmental delay and a low immune system. Along with her triplet siblings Eva and Harry, and parents Julie and Mark the family receive respite care from Little Havens.
“It was a social carer that told us about Little Havens. My first reaction was, ‘Oh no, that means death’ but I said to Mark that we’d at least have a look around and we took Eva and Harry with us.”
“I became very emotional during that first visit. I didn’t realise that it would be a home from home. It’s a child’s dream, there’s everything that they’d ever want to do such as swimming and soft play. The staff are so friendly and accommodating, it completely changed my view about what a hospice could be.”
“Sometimes we use the swimming pool, even if we’re not staying at Little Havens. It’s the right temperature, private and Mark and I can have quiet, quality time with Vivien and she thoroughly enjoys being in the water. We haven’t got to rush and there’s no one staring at us, which does happen when we’re out in public.”
“Harry and Eva visit Krafty Kids and it gives them quality time away from our home environment which can be quite clinical and stuck in a routine. The STEMS Team is brilliant with the children; approachable, empathetic and they’re all expertise in their various fields. They support Vivien, but Harry and Eva too.”
“Mark and I also have complementary therapy at Little Havens as a couple once a month – something we wouldn’t have the time or money to do otherwise.”
“We count the days till our next stay at Little Havens. We’d be devastated if the hospice didn’t exist as it’s our only support network. Everyone there works together to make our stay comfortable and enjoyable.”
Julie, Vivien’s Mum
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Published in 2017
Julie, Vivien’s mum
I didn’t realise that it would be a home from home, it completely changed my view about what a hospice could be.