A children’s hospice is a specifically designed facility and service where a community of dedicated paediatric palliative care professionals and carers provide support and care to children and teens who have life-limiting conditions and their families. Services will typically include scheduled and emergency short break stays, care at the end of life, and sibling and bereavement support.
Life-limiting conditions are precisely what the name suggests. Technically, the term life-limiting condition applies to children and teens that, based on their medical diagnosis, are not expected to reach the age of eighteen. In many cases they can live rich, though shortened lives. In many instances these children and teens will have periods of good health where the term ‘terminal’ does not feel appropriate, and can be a detrimental and upsetting label to the whole family. Hummingbird House uses the term life-limiting conditions (LLCs) and encourages all our supporters to embrace it as well, focussing on maximising the quality of life for the limited time available.
Hummingbird House embraces The World Health Organization’s (WHO) definition of palliative care appropriate for children and their families (WHO; 1998a):
- Palliative care for children is the active total care of the child’s body, mind and spirit, and also involves giving support to the family.
- It begins when illness is diagnosed, and continues regardless of whether or not a child receives treatment directed at the disease.
- Health providers must evaluate and alleviate a child’s physical, psychological, and social distress.
- Effective palliative care requires a broad multidisciplinary approach that includes the family and makes use of available community resources; it can be successfully implemented even if resources are limited.
- It can be provided in tertiary care facilities, in community health centres and even in children’s homes.
There are many ways you can help Hummingbird House.
You can help us by:
- Making a donation (every dollar helps).
- Doing some fundraising. You could run for Hummingbird House in an event like the Bridge to Brisbane or Gold Coast Marathon or hold a fundraising event such as a movie night, morning tea, or trivia night. Please contact us for more fundraising ideas!
- Encouraging your employer or company to become a Hummingbird House supporter, or sponsor a Hummingbird House event or program.
- Inviting a Hummingbird House representative to speak at your community group. We’d love to speak at your Rotary, Lions, Quota, Probus, or ESA International meeting.
- Asking your school to support Hummingbird House. It is inspiring to see kids helping kids. We can provide a guest speaker, merchandise, and anything else you need to help your school fundraise for Hummingbird House.
- Selling Hummingbird House merchandise at your workplace or school. Please contact us to find out more.
Thank you for your interest in supporting Hummingbird House.
If you need more information please feel free to contact us.
Volunteers are an integral part of the Hummingbird House team. They contribute in a multitude of ways, from providing assistance with fundraising events through to supporting Hummingbird House operations.
At Hummingbird House we aim to provide the highest level of support and care through all facets of our service, including our volunteer support. In order to achieve this we undertake a thorough recruitment and selection process to ensure we recruit volunteers who are the ‘best fit’ for our organisation. This also gives potential volunteers the opportunity to discover more about Hummingbird House, and to determine if a Hummingbird House volunteer role is the ‘right fit’ for them.
Requirements for operational volunteer roles include:
- Commitment. Volunteers are asked to commit to 1 – 2 shifts per week for 6 months.
- Event volunteering. Regardless of their role, volunteers are asked to assist at one Hummingbird House event per year.
- Undertake relevant probity checks. This includes completing a National Police Checking Service Informed Consent Form and Working with Children Check.
- Training requirements. All volunteers are required to complete volunteer induction training, which takes place over two days.
- Immunisations. All volunteers required to receive and/or provide evidence of required immunisations.
Currently, volunteer operational roles include:
- Front of house (reception/administration)
- Housekeeping assistants
- Sibling Support (requires experience in planning activities for children, facilitating, and supervising activities)
Experience in these roles would be highly beneficial, but is not essential.
If you are interested in any of the positions listed and are able to meet the volunteer requirements, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and provide information on why you want to volunteer for Hummingbird House, the role you are interested in and your availability.
Upon receipt of your email we will contact you and provide further information.
Potential volunteers will be invited to an interview, and asked to provide a current resume.
It costs over $3 million each year to operate Hummingbird House as a free service for Queensland families. Queenslanders built Hummingbird House, and we now rely on this same generosity to continue to run this special home away from home.
Donations made to Hummingbird House will be used to achieve the mission of ensuring Queensland children with life-limiting conditions and their families have access to a children’s hospice where:
- They can receive scheduled and emergency respite, end of life care and bereavement support in a safe, supportive, respectful non-hospital environment.
- Palliative care for children and teens includes total care of the child’s body, mind and spirit, and also involves giving support to the family.
- Health providers work to evaluate and alleviate a child’s physical, psychological, and social distress.
- Families have the opportunity to come together, draw breath, and find the moments where they can create positive, meaningful memories within the shortened lifetimes.
- The celebration of life, however short lived, is paramount.
Hummingbird House is committed to operating a sound business model. As such we will invest funds strategically at all times, like a business, in order to achieve our objectives.
Like a business we will invest in items such as:
- Construction materials for the house
- Strategic planning and development (to ensure the entire operation is run strategically and effectively)
- Organisational infrastructure (such as computer systems to ensure we are as efficient as possible in serving families in need, getting the maximum value out of every available dollar)
- Accounting (to generate financial accountability documentation to ensure maximum transparency)
- Communications staff (to ensure calls from families and donors alike are answered promptly, and effectively)
- Awareness campaigns (to spread the word about what Hummingbird House does, its importance and available services to families in need, medical practitioners and donors alike).
Hummingbird House will cater to children, teens living with life-limiting conditions and their families and are always referred to as guests. These are typical Australian families, from all walks of life, except that they are confronted by the immense emotional; physical and financial struggles associated with living with and loving a child with a life-limiting condition. They could be your neighbours, a family from school, or someone from your workplace. You never know who will be affected by a life-limiting condition until it happens.
The House has eight Guest in Care suites that are designed to accommodate a child with complex medical needs in a beautiful home-like environment. Each child will have their own room and ensuite with two family accommodation units interconnected with two Guest in Care bedrooms. There are an additional 3 self-contained family accommodation suites on the lower ground level of Hummingbird House. These have been designed to accommodate varying sizes of families and can be configured to studio apartments or opened up to create a 3 or 4 bedroom family unit if necessary. There are four primary types of stay at Hummingbird House.
Our chef provides all meals, or families can choose to do their own cooking in their units.
When a child or teenager comes as a guest to Hummingbird House, their care routine is maintained as if they were being cared for at home, in consultation with their paediatrician or other health care providers. Each guest will bring their prescribed medication and other clinical support requirements. While there will be supportive equipment and associated consumables for guests in care at Hummingbird House, any individualised, guest specific equipment or consumables required by the child will be brought by their family for use throughout the stay ie. personalised wheelchair or nutritional support.
As a children’s palliative care service, children who will be eligible to access Hummingbird House are living with a condition that can be described as follows:
- Life-threatening conditions for which curative treatment may be feasible but can fail.
- Conditions where premature death is inevitable.
- Progressive conditions without curative treatment options.
- Irreversible but non-progressive conditions causing severe disability, leading to susceptibility to health complications and likelihood of premature death
Referrals are accepted from the Paediatric Palliative Care Service at the Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital, or your child’s lead clinician.
After acceptance of your referral, Hummingbird House staff will contact you to arrange for us to carry out a Holistic Needs Assessment with you which will help us identify your individual needs and goals.
This assessment will guide us in working out how Hummingbird House can best support your family.
If you are interested in accessing Hummingbird House, please contact us on 07 3621 4336 or email email@example.com for further discussion.
There are four key partners that will make Hummingbird House a reality. Hummingbird House Foundation were the initial visionaries for Hummingbird House and have driven the project since its inception.
In 2014 Wesley Mission Queensland joined Hummingbird House Foundation, as the operators and licensee of Hummingbird House Brisbane, creating the joint initiative.
The third key partner is government, both state and federal who provided significant capital and operational funding.
The final partner is the community, without whom the construction and ongoing operation of Hummingbird House will not be possible. The community support comes in the form of individual donations, individual fundraising, organisational and corporate support.
In addition to these partners, Hummingbird House has a formal International Children’s Palliative Care (ICPCN) twinning agreement with East Anglia Children’s Hospices (EACH) in the UK. This is a relationship designed to promote knowledge sharing and clinical support during the development and delivery of Hummingbird House. This will eventually translate into staff exchange and continued collaboration with program development and delivery.
Hummingbird House has a strong collaborative relationship with Very Special Kids in Melbourne, Victoria and Bear Cottage in Manly, New South Wales. Both children’s hospices were actively involved in the design recommendations for Hummingbird House and held positions on the Hummingbird House Clinical Advisory Committee.