Useful information

Short breaks are requested several months in advance of the stay. You will need to complete the short break request form online which will be sent to you by email or post twice a year.

When completing the form please provide a selection of up to three dates; we aim to offer you one of your preferred choices however this may not always be possible. There is a minimum of a two night stay for residential breaks due to the amount of time it can take parents, carers and the nursing team to prepare for each admission to ensure safe clinical care is provided. If you have no preference for dates, please write ‘no preference’ in the comments box on the form.

We will do our best to accommodate this, however, please note this may not always be possible.

If your child has not been to the hospice to access a short break before, a parent or carer will be required to stay for your child’s first night or you may come for a day care session with your child before their overnight break. This is to allow our staff to get to know your child and for you and your child to feel comfortable with our staff.

After the closing date, we will allocate spaces on a fair and equitable basis. Once this is complete, we will be in touch with you again to let you know what dates we have allocated your family. If we have not been able to allocate one of your preferred dates, we will do our best to offer you an alternative.

You will be contacted again around two weeks prior to your short break, to answer any queries that you have regarding the admission process and a registered nurse will complete your child’s care plan with you. Completing the care plans can take between 30 minutes – two hours depending on when your child last stayed with us or if there have been any changes to your child’s care since their last stay.

When allocating breaks, we will prioritise any young people approaching their 18th birthday as our nursing services are only able to offer care for children and young people up to the age of 18. Our transition team can offer advice, information, practical support and signposting up to age 25.

Please ensure that you arrive promptly to avoid any delay in admission.

On arrival, your child’s care plans and medication will be checked by a registered nurse so please ensure that prescribed medications are labelled correctly with a pharmacy label which clearly shows your child’s name. If the dose on the bottle differs from the current prescribed dose, please bring confirmation of the dose change with you i.e. confirmation by email/letter from the healthcare professional that changed the dose.

Please check the medication does not expire before the end of your child’s short break. You will also need to bring all medical equipment relevant to your child’s care. We will be unable to administer the medication without this information and may have to cancel your short break.

We will always prioritise end of life care and sometimes this may sadly mean that we must cancel bookings that have been made for short breaks. We will only do this if necessary and with as much notice as we can, therefore all short break bookings are subject to cancellation at short notice.

In case of an emergency or extenuating circumstance, an adult with parental responsibility must be no more than two hours away from the hospice should you need to collect your child.

If you need to cancel your short break, we would appreciate as much notice as possible so we could offer the space to another family.

For any queries relating to short breaks or other services in general please call our service administration team on 01795 845270 (10am-4pm, Monday – Friday) or email

For emotional support, social support, therapies or family events, please call our family support team on 01795 845280 (10am-4pm, Monday - Friday) or email

If you need to contact us during your child's short break in the hospice, the nursing team can be contacted on 020 8859 9800 (South East London) or 01795 845201 (Kent).

Whilst on our premises, connection to the Demelza Wi-Fi is recommended. Demelza Wi-Fi will block internet searches and inappropriate content being accessed or downloaded via the internet. However, the way your device is set up and managed (i.e. with parental controls), will dictate what your child or young person is able to view, access or download to the device and the Demelza Wi-Fi would not block this. If you want your child to remain using their own data, you should be aware that no content can be blocked by our IT system.

We ask that anyone that has had a case of diarrhoea or vomiting within the past 48 hours or is currently displaying symptoms of a respiratory illness does not visit a Demelza site.

If any of these symptoms are present during a short break visit, you will be asked to collect your child/ren and take them home if possible.

If you are being visited by a member of the community care team and experience any of these symptoms, please contact them to rearrange the visit.

Get in touch

We offer advocacy and practical, emotional and social support to parents, carers, siblings and grandparents. The family support helpline is open Monday to Friday, 10am-4pm or you can email us and we'll get back to you as soon as we can.

Call us on 01795 845280

Email us