LauraLynn Ireland’s Children’s Hospice (LauraLynn) was formed in 2011 following the merging of the long-standing Children’s Sunshine Home and the LauraLynn Foundation, founded by Jane and Brendan McKenna. LauraLynn comprises three distinct care services – LauraLynn Children’s Hospice Service (the only children’s hospice in Ireland) as well as two local disability services (LauraLynn Disability Services). All services are located in separate but adjacent buildings, operate different models of care and are funded through vastly different mechanisms.
These factors have led to a fragmented sense of purpose in the workforce (staff & volunteers), complex organisational messaging and a leaning towards siloed, individual-service focussed goals and development.
LauraLynn is committed to achieving the highest levels of governance across its clinical, corporate and fundraising activities. Historically the organisation produced internal strategic documents to guide its development and decision-making, the latest of these concluded in 2017.
- the duty of care to service users, staff, volunteers, funders and donors;
- the pressing need for more children’s palliative/hospice care services nationally; and
- concern regarding the sustainability of the organisation given the current funding model,
a step-change approach was required to generate a clear, measurable, unifying purpose and roadmap to steer the next phase of the organisation’s development.
New Era, New Plan
With the conclusion of the Strategic Plan 2015-2017, and building on the longstanding ambition to expand both the children’s disability and children’s hospice services, the Board of Directors held a number of strategy sessions in late 2017 & early 2018 identifying new aspirations for LauraLynn, to:
- expand children’s hospice services nationwide;
- maximise children’s disability respite services onsite;
- maintain adult residential disability services until no longer safe/viable; and
- align with the national policy and
Furthermore, the Board agreed to enlist the services of an Independent Consultancy (The Governance Company) to assist in developing a robust five-year organisational strategy and
implementation plan, taking account three additional areas identified by the Executive Management Team (EMT) – People, Funding and Governance.
An evidence-based approach was adopted. Firstly, a comprehensive policy review and SWOT analysis of the environment was completed by the EMT to inform the content and ascertain the evolving requirements of the sector.
An extensive programme of internal and external consultation followed, in order to identify current and future health system needs and growth opportunities for the organisation.
During an intensive five-month period, this was our journey of engagement:
The overwhelming feedback received was that LauraLynn:
- must grow its community of care to provide more care, to more families;
- has an important role to play in shaping policy and standards of care for children with palliative care, complex medical care and complex disability care
Other key themes emerged including: widespread recognition of the safety and quality of care provided in LauraLynn; a desire for greater clarity on LauraLynn’s purpose and ambitions; and a desire for greater collaboration and communication with healthcare professionals.
New Mission, Vision, Values and Strategic Goals were revised to better align with the ambition and the scope of care provided by LauraLynn (from a children’s hospice bias, to a more inclusive approach), cognisant of the blended workforce (staff and volunteers) and range of care provided (children’s hospice, children’s disability and adult disability).
‘Growing a Community of Care’, the LauraLynn Ireland’s Children’s Hospice Strategic Plan (2019- 2023) was approved by the Board in December 2018.
Its implementation plan, with KPIs, timelines and responsibilities enables ongoing monitoring of progress and performance by the Board. A full strategy review will be completed by the Board and EMT in 2021.
Impacts to date
- The organisation has clear, measurable and widely understood goals for development, informed by research and consultation. This has improved internal cohesion and generated excitement and pride in
- Internal and external stakeholder relationships are deeper from the consultation and strategy
- The Mission, Vision & Values were devised by staff and volunteers and are more representative of the organisation and its work. These are now part of daily life and culture in
- The strategy is a robust, governance tool to aid in organisational decision-making, development planning, and impact
- There is greater certainty and confidence for the Board, our funders, donors and the public that LauraLynn has the expertise, direction and governance to operate successfully, holding the child, adult and families we care for at the centre of our decision