Young people with life limiting conditions are now living longer due to medical advancements. Before ‘Beyond Horizon’ there was no formal acknowledgment of the need for a transition solution.
Due to the vast differences in children and adult hospice service models, it is not currently possible to simply transition directly from one to the other. Not only is the model of care different, but the skills required to deliver children’s palliative care is widely different to those required to deliver adult hospice services.
Some of the young adults participated in the design of the programme and they named the programme “Beyond Horizon”, after the name ‘Horizon House’ where their palliative care support had been based as children.
The ‘Beyond Horizon’ project consists of two sessions per month, on two different Saturdays. One session is for young people who have communication difficulties, while the other is for those who can communicate well. Activities are tailored to suit their needs.
For one day per month, these young people are able to spend time with their peers, whilst being cared for by specially trained staff. Activities such as film making, complementary therapy, art and song writing have been included.
For those young people with communication difficulties, therapies that enhance communication and expression, such as music therapy, have been provided.
There are steadily increasing numbers of children and young people with life limiting diagnoses living into adulthood. This is not an issue which will resolve itself, but rather one which is likely to keep on growing.
In the words of a young person at Beyond Horizon:
At NI Hospice, we are committed to seeking acknowledgement of and support for the unique needs of these young adults.