- Helen House, a hospice for children, is a philosophy, not a facility, which aims to enable families to care for their sick child at home in specific ways: by ensuring that extra community support is mobilised; by offering respite care; by telephone contact and home visits. While there is undoubtedly a need for more support and advice for children and relatives, there is also growing concern that the proliferation of hospices is both haphazard and, in some ways, counterproductive. There is a pressing need to assess requirements coolly and rationally, to evaluate existing services, to plan ahead and to secure appropriate long-term resources. And what about the needs of those not catered for by places like Helen House? What about the belief that hospice is a philosophy rather than a building? The conference grew out of these concerns, and brought together nearly 100 nurses, doctors, planners, researchers and others with an interest in sick children.