Royal College of Nursing Representing nurses and nursing, promoting excellence in practice, shaping health policies


Bounce Back Boy

Josh Cawley died a distressing death supported by his family who fought for all of his short life to get the care he needed.

Bounce Back Boy is a film that explores the life and the death of 23 year old Josh following catastrophic injuries inflicted by his birth parents. It explores how his, and his adoptive family’s, complex needs were inadequately identified, assessed and supported by health and social care professionals.

The original play was written by playwright Brian Daniels, in conjunction with Josh’s adoptive mother Lynn Cawley, who had to co-ordinate his care whilst fighting for the system to recognise his needs. Josh's needs were considered too 'complex' for the local hospice. 

 A question and answer session with Josh’s Adoptive mother, Lynn follows directly on from the film. She describes some of the things she would like to be done differently and the impact living with Josh had on her life and those of her immediate family.

Film objectives

The primary objectives of the film are to provoke discussion and:

  • raise awareness of the multiple challenges that can arise when a young person with complex needs is dying
  • promote understanding of the human impact of inadequate support for individuals and those that love them at the end of life
  • highlight the importance of tailoring care to individual and family needs at the end of life
  • improve the quality and experience of palliative and end of life care for young adults and people with learning difficulties.

The RCN is working in partnership with Hospice UK and Skills for Care to develop associated learning and educational materials to support the film.

Page last updated - 03/08/2019