Childhood death taboo impacts on children’s hospices

One in four people in Britain find anything to do with children’s illness or childhood death too upsetting to talk about says new research from the Association of Children’s Hospices (ACH) published to herald the start of Children’s Hospice Week from 17-24 September.

The organisation found this reticence is particularly acute among parents, with six out of ten people with children under 16 saying that seeing children who are ill or dying makes them feel vulnerable about their own children or grandchildren. The research also revealed that there is not enough understanding of what children’s hospices do with a majority of people associating them with death and sadness.

The ACH is concerned that fundraising and the ease with which children get access to hospices may be affected as a result, and plans to use Children’s Hospice Week to tackle this.

“The topic of childhood death is a major taboo in British culture and it’s an issue that directly affects children’s hospices and those children and families they care for,” said Barbara Gelb, ACH chief executive.

“Moreover, families with life-limited  children often feel isolated from the community, and fundraising efforts by children’s hospices may well be affected by individuals and companies switching off and not wanting to know,” she added.

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