The Jack and Jill Children’s Foundation is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. As part of the celebration, we have created a new logo which is an evolution of the identity created under the auspices of our founder, Jonathan Irwin and his wife Mary Ann O’Brien, in 1997. It embraces our history and heritage, retaining our valuable brand equity, while re-energising our brand look and feel for a more digital environment, where much of our fundraising now takes place. Bright, vibrant and evocative of the empowering care Jack and Jill Children’s Foundation provides; we hope this redesign sets us up for the next 25 years, as we continue to provide in-home nursing care and respite support for children and their families in communities across Ireland.
We invite our team of nurses and fundraisers, our board, our community of families, our amazing donors, fundraisers, volunteers, corporate partners, county champions, the media and all who have a connection with Jack and Jill to celebrate with us as we embark on this next chapter! Thank you for your continued support – we couldn’t do what we do, without you!
Our Mission and How It All Began
Jack and Jill Children’s Foundation is a home nursing care service that has been supporting families across Ireland since 1997. We provide specialist nursing care to children under the age of six with complex medical needs. Our nurses are highly skilled and experienced in caring for children with special needs, and we always put the child’s welfare first. We also provide end-of-life care for all children up to the age of six, irrespective of diagnosis.
Our mission is to enable parents to care for their child at home, in communities across Ireland. We offer a range of services to help families manage their child’s condition, from short-term intensive treatment to long-term nursing care. Jack and Jill’s staff are dedicated to providing each family with personalised support and care.
The charity was founded 25 years ago by Mary Ann O’Brien and Jonathan Irwin who launched the foundation based on their family experience caring for their son Jack at home with the help of local nurses, until he passed away at home in Kildare at the age of 22 months on 13th December 1997. Jack’s home nursing care plan became the blueprint for over 2,700 children who’ve been supported by Jack and Jill since then, as Mary Ann and Jonathan vowed that no parents should have to walk this difficult care journey alone. They set about establishing a practical home nursing care model and raising funds to deliver it.
The Children and Families we Support
The children we help here at Jack and Jill have life-limiting conditions that require around the clock care. They might be tube fed, oxygen dependent, at risk of seizures and require heavy medication. Their high needs make it hard to leave them home alone, and means families cannot ask friends or family to mind them given the complexity of their condition. The families we support need specialist help from Jack and Jill and they need a break from this ‘always on’ care regime.
Life is uncertain for these children, their conditions are rare, prognosis uncertain, hospital visits are frequent. However, what we do know for certain is that they do better at home, where their family wants them, in their own community, where they push their life limiting boundaries every day. For whatever time they have. With Jack and Jill we want to enable this as best as possible for both children and their families.
How it works
Jack and Jill usually receives referrals from maternity hospitals or via public health nurses. We then have our core team, of 15 highly-qualified liaison nurse managers and two family co-ordinators, act as case managers. They access each unique case and design a home nursing care plan, bringing in local community nurses to support the family. We have over 500 community nurses and carers providing care across the country.
Jack and Jill funds and supports up to 80 hours of home nursing care for families per month through a donation direct to family model, with €18 funding 1 hour of home nursing care. For example, it costs €1,440 per month for a family for a maximum of 80 hours, which is €17,280 per year. With Jack and Jill the money donated follows the patient, in this case the child, into the home. Once a child is formally approved for Jack and Jill funding, our support becomes part of the care regime of the family for up to 6 years providing service seven days a week. There is no waiting list or means tests with Jack and Jill.
During the Pandemic
During the COVID-19 pandemic families depended on us more than ever. Today over 90% of our families are in receipt of in-home visits, and the rest receive direct support from our liaison nurse managers over the phone. Thanks to our supporters and patrons, over the past two years we have extended our age range to 6 years old, and from this year, 2022, we’ve extended our hours to 80 per month for every family. This extension gives our nurses more scope to give families that extra support as necessary.
An important part of Jack and Jill’s service is our end-of-life support at home. This is provided to children up to the age of six whose families require our support, irrespective of the diagnosis. Throughout the pandemic our nurses continued to support these children, at a time when families really were limited on visitors. Our nurses helped the parents to bring their child home, even for just one night or one week.
Over the Years
We’ve kept Jack and Jill’s critical, front-line service going through COVID-19, funding and supporting 109,382 hours of specialist home nursing care to our families in the community across the country. Additionally, 25,000 hours of hand on case management from our core nursing team, and a further 3,300 hours from our family co-ordinators which represents a 16% increase on 2020 levels.
Every child we support is unique, as is every family situation, therefore our service is bespoke and designed around the family’s requirements, never forgetting the siblings who may also require extra time with their parents. We enter the home at the invitation of the parents who we recognise as the primary caregivers to the children. Parents often refer to our service as their ‘gift of time’. Time to do the normal family things, like sleeping, shopping, work, school, sports, while their Jack and Jill child is well cared for at home by an expert.
This year, we celebrate our 25 years of service to families in communities across Ireland and are proud of what we have achieved, and how we have grown, supported and been there for families, day in, day out. Our service is not a service for a week or a weekend, but rather an ongoing care commitment and a bond that lasts forever. And our service is in demand today like never before, with over 400 families currently under our care. We need funding and support to continue delivering our vital service and a huge thank you to all who enable us to achieve our mission.
As we continue into our second quarter century of providing essential home nursing care, we ask that you consider donating to help us support even more families who need our care into the future..