Hummingbird House recognises that family and community are fundamental to every family’s experience of caring for a child with a life-limiting condition, and that different families have access to different levels of support – with some experiencing severe disconnection, isolation and struggle.
Our interdisciplinary team of therapists, community development workers, spiritual and support staff are an integral part of the holistic approach we take when supporting children or young people and their families. We even have a Chief Officer of Fun.
Our aim is to provide care and support to anyone who counts as family to a guest. We find that many families define who is family for them in unique ways. As such, we individualize and tailor our care and support to meet the unique needs of each family, rather than offering a broad brush of services that are underpinned by the notion that what works for one family will work for every family.
At Hummingbird House, the families we walk alongside are often navigating life with significant levels of uncertainty and complex challenges. As a child and family centred service, we position families as experts in their own lives when determining how our services may be helpful to them. We believe that listening is key to this process, which we do from the first moment we meet a family.
For most families, listening and learning through reflective dialogue helps us understand what is working well, what could be a little better, and where family members feel they need a significant amount of care and support. This listening-led approach ensures our support is targeted and evidence-based, and that we avoid the duplication of existing services families may already have access to.
Examples of direct support services we offer include:
- Practical support that helps families prioritise their goals, such as memory making or advocacy for care.
- Targeted therapies such as counselling, art therapy and facilitated groups.
- Systems navigation, guidance and supported specialist referrals.
- Specialist family support, especially around end of life, after death care and grief and bereavement support.
Community focused care
In addition to the direct services we provide guests and families, our Family and Community Support team is committed to taking a community-oriented approach to ensure families feel as connected and supported at home – as they do during their interactions with Hummingbird House.
While for some families we may be best placed to support them through direct service delivery. For other families, we find our resources are most useful to them when actively directed to the outer circles of their support network. Practically speaking, this can include facilitating inter-agency communication to offer specialist palliative, grief or bereavement support to schools or community organizations; arranging supports or advocating at a systems level in collaboration with families.