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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries


n the December issue of The Actuary, Fraser Smart explained how the Faculty of Actuaries is seeking to raise £50,000 this year for the Children’s Hospice Association Scotland (CHAS). This article describe the work carried out by CHAS.

We all expect our children to grow up healthy and strong. Sadly though, some parents are living with the knowledge that their child’s life will be short.
The Children’s Hospice Association Scotland (CHAS) was established in 1992 to offer specialist respite care to children with what the medical profession term as a life-limiting condition (any condition which is not treatable and for which there is no known cure).
In a home-from-home setting, a children’s hospice cares for children and young people who are not expected to survive into adulthood, providing practical help, emotional support, advice to the whole family, and lots and lots of fun.
In 1996 Rachel House, Scotland’s first children’s hospice, opened in Kinross. Rachel House provides palliative care for the affected child and holistic respite for the entire family. Up to eight families can be accommodated at any given time.
CHAS is halfway through its three-year pilot project of offering home care for families in the Highlands area. The Rachel House At Home Team is based in Inverness and team members spend time with the families in their own homes with the care team delivering a vital service to families living in some of the most remote communities in Scotland.
Increasing demand
Because of increasing demand, CHAS decided in June 1999 to build a second children’s hospice, this time in the west of Scotland. Robin House in Balloch welcomed the first children, young people, and their families into the house on 8 August last year.
Last year CHAS also finished building a new education suite, including seminar and workshop rooms. The education suite adjoins Rachel House at Kinross, and is a part of the charity’s Centre of Excellence programme. This programme will deliver Scotland’s first-ever accredited qualifications in children’s palliative care including a master of science degree in association with Dundee University. The programme will be open not just to CHAS staff, but to care providers throughout Scotland, vastly increasing the level of expertise available at a local level to children and families when they are not staying at one of the hospices.
Families in Scotland are supported by multi-disciplinary teams of staff in both hospices and through the care at home service. There are almost 800 volunteers involved in over 34 roles in CHAS. Volunteers assist staff in almost every area of the organisation: in the shops and offices, on the board of directors and in the hospices. They also help raise awareness and funds through a wide range of public relations and fundraising activities.

The cost of care
To maintain, run, and provide the services at Rachel House, Rachel House at Home, and Robin House it costs the charity £5m each year. The families do not pay anything, nor should they. CHAS is funded almost entirely by charitable donations.