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Sister Frances Dominica OBE, DL, FRCN, FRCPCH (Hon)

Author: Lin Beekar, Helen and Douglas House
08 March 2013

Sister Frances Dominica founded the world’s first children’s hospice Helen House which opened in 1982. This was the beginning of the worldwide children’s hospice movement.

"On 15 November 1982 two children and their families came through the red front door of Helen House. They were the first of thousands of children and young people for whom we have been privileged to provide special care, offering friendship and support to them and their families. From the seed of an idea – a very small beginning – I can look back with heartfelt thanks to how the original concept has developed and how it has spread around the world. There are now children’s hospice services throughout the United Kingdom and some provision of paediatric palliative care is evident on all five continents."– Sister Frances Dominica.

Sister Frances is still a trustee of Helen House and Douglas House, a hospice specifically for young adults aged 16-35, which opened within the same grounds as Helen House in 2004.

Along with her varied duties and interests, Sister Frances writes and lectures on the care of children and young people with life-shortening illnesses. 

She is Deputy Lieutenant of the County of Oxfordshire, and has received Honorary Degrees from three universities. She was awarded an OBE in 2006, received the Woman of the Year Award in 2007 and was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award in November 2012, by Help the Hospices and the National Garden Scheme. 

Sister Frances celebrated her 70th birthday in 2012, the year of the 30th Anniversary of Helen House.

Read about Sister Frances' Help the Hospices and NGS Lifetime Achievement Award on the UK edition of ehospice. 


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