Referral Information

Referral information

Self-referral by child/young person, parents/carers or from specific agencies. Any referee with parent/guardian consent and doctors signature to clarify child meets criteria. Once referrals are received they are reviewed at a monthly panel and a decision is made on whether or not they fit the criteria for support. The initial contact from the service is usually by phone to discuss the referral and arrange a home visit. During the first visit the care needs of the child will be discussed and the type of support – community, hospice based or a mixture of both, will be discussed. Each family has a named care team leader who is their first point of contact. The service is run by a charity. Please contact us to find out more about our eligibility criteria.


Age Range Details

0 till time of passing .

We accept children with a wide range of conditions, no matter when they were diagnosed or how far their condition has progressed.

Once a referral has been made to us, care team leaders will decide whether a child can receive hospice services.

They need to know, after hearing from a range of medical professionals, that:

  • The child’s life will be shortened by their condition, or a cluster of symptoms, for which there is no reasonable hope of cure
  • There is a strong possibility of the child dying before the age of 18.
  • They are low functioning on the Autism scale

We also accept children who have undiagnosed, complex health needs that combine to affect the longevity of their life or neonates with an expected life-shortening antenatal diagnosis.


Life-limiting or life-threatening conditions are conditions where there is no reasonable hope of cure; and from which children or young people will die before reaching adulthood. Plus children who are unable to care for themselves or enter formal employment due to severe Autism

Some of these conditions cause progressive deterioration which require 24 hour care with the care burden met by parents and family members.

In order to be eligible to receive services from Iris House, children must have a condition that falls within the criteria outlined below:


Group 1

Life-threatening conditions for which curative treatment may be feasible but can fail, and where access to palliative care services may be necessary when treatment fails. Children in long-term remission or following successful curative treatment are not included.

Examples: cancer, irreversible organ failure of the heart, kidney or liver

Group 2

Conditions were premature death is inevitable, and where there may be long periods of intensive treatment aimed at prolonging life and allowing participation in normal activities.

Examples: cystic fibrosis, Duchenne muscular dystrophy, severe cerebral palsy

Group 3

Progressive conditions without curative treatment options, and where treatment is often palliative and may commonly extend over many years.

Examples: Batten disease, mucopolysaccharidoses. Low function Autism

Group 4

Irreversible but non-progressive conditions causing severe disability, leading to susceptibility to health complications and likelihood of premature death.

Examples: acquired neutralisability such as cerebral palsy, birth injury and those who suffer an injury following illnesses such as meningitis, encephalitis or head injury. Children and young people being referred under this category need to fulfil at least three of the following criteria:


  • Total body involvement with poor head control
  • Severe scoliosis that compromises respiratory function
  • Ongoing need for interventions to maintain respirations e.g. ventilatory support, oxygen therapy
  • Regular apnoeic episodes
  • Poorly controlled seizures despite optimum treatment
  • Frequent unplanned hospital admissions
  • Underlying complex nutritional condition which requires accurate assessment, without which would be life threatening.


Group 5

Children who have low functioning Autism and behavioural related conditions that can improve with intensive intervention involving the parent as well as the child in the process. Please note this does not include children with ADHD


Anyone can refer a child to Iris House