Our Care at Home in West Kent service is available to children with serious or terminal conditions across the region including Maidstone, Tunbridge Wells and Tonbridge.

Care at Home gives families the choice of how and where to receive care. Rather than having to travel to our hospices, they can receive support in an environment that feels comfortable for you and your child. Our registered nurses and health care assistants go directly into their home to provide care, crisis intervention, an on-call service and respite.

At Demelza, we get to know every child, young person and family we work with, to make sure they receive a care plan as individualised and unique to them. Our care teams will take the time to get to know our families and learn more about their needs. In doing so, we can provide bespoke care and support and build strong and trusting relationships, so everyone gets the most out of the experience.

Oakley’s story

Lisa, mum to Oakley has taken the time to share their story with us:

“In a moment your whole world can be turned upside down. This is what happened when our two-year-old son Oakley was diagnosed with Angelman syndrome; a complex genetic disorder that primarily affects the nervous system. Oakley was poorly with viruses every couple of weeks and we were in and out of hospital because of frequent seizures. We were given little support and it was frightening.

“Demelza coming into our lives was like a big hug for our family. A hug we needed after a few years of feeling very alone, scared and unsupported. Demelza’s hospice in Kent was the first place Oakley attended where it felt like he could fit in and be safe. For us it was the first place we attended where we felt people understood our struggles and actually really wanted to help and actually could help. It was comforting that the staff are well qualified and are experienced with caring for children with similar medical issues.

“Oakley is still getting used to overnight care as he doesn’t like to be away for too long. What he really adores is his home care with Demelza as this is where he feels most comfortable. Oakley is developing anxieties as he is growing up and understanding more (it is a known symptom of his syndrome). These anxieties come out when he goes anywhere other than home, so it’s nice he can relax in a place of familiarity and comfort - especially if he is feeling poorly or tired. Demelza Health Care Assistant Hettie is wonderful with Oakley; they have really bonded. She adapts her play to his energy levels and has a calm temperament which Oakley likes. Hettie is very flexible, reliable, understanding, supportive and listens to my worries.”

Oakley sits on his dad's lap, whilst playing with a guitar toy.

Hettie, Health Care Assistant for our Care at Home in West Kent service said:

"I like to be hands-on and will support a nurse with clinical care in the home. The best way I can describe it is by likening it to surgery. When looking after a ventilated child, for example, we don’t necessarily need to talk while providing care. I will know instinctively when to pass over the suction or catheter to the nurse – we work seamlessly as a team and I am learning all the time.

"And then there’s all the fun to be had – whether making music, sensory play, creating something arty, cooking up a storm in the kitchen or embarking on a forest hunting adventure – Care at Home sessions come in all shapes and sizes and I like to do a range of activities that I know a child will enjoy. Life for the children Demelza cares for can be short so it is important to make as many memories as we can with them. I am also trained in bereavement photography so am able to capture those precious moments between a family and a child receiving end of life care.”