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Economic assessment of the child and family service at St Columba's Hospice

Donna Hastings, Family Support Team Worker, St Columba's Hospice

Donna's case study was completed in 2020 and reflects 2020 prices

According to the Childhood Bereavement Network in 2014, 41,000 children were bereaved of a parent or primary care giver in the UK. Longitudinal studies show that children who are bereaved are less likely to thrive, and are less likely to reach their academic potential and do well in exams; they are less likely to have secure attached relationships later in life, and they are more likely to offend.

The Child and Family Support Service at St Columba's Hospice was established in December 2018, in recognition that there was a lack of pre- and post-bereavement support in relation to children and young people within a family. St Columba's Hospice has 340,000 people living within its catchment, with an estimate of 215 children who are bereaved each year as a result of a terminal illness, and the hospice wanted an innovative way of targeting these children and providing holistic family support.

Donna's economic assessment, based on a Cost Avoidance Approach (CAA) which looks at avoided spend (not necessarily a decreased spend), was designed to demonstrate the impact and value of the Child and Family Service. This involved both the provision of a service in the hospice and also outreach into the community, with a specific focus on schools. This service is directed towards the hospice population with the aim of mitigating a range of potential short, medium and long-term negative outcomes through providing early intervention.

Case studies are used to illustrate the short-term impacts of the service to date, followed by a discussion of the medium and long-term impacts of bereavement, which the service aims to mitigate.

The economic assessment illustrated the potential for the service to contribute to the avoidance of negative outcomes in approximately 125 children and young people year on year. As the service develops there is potential for further work to quantify the impact of the service in the medium to long term and monetise the potential costs avoided as a result.

You can contact Donna by email DHastings@stcolumbashospice.org.uk

Case study

One page summary