Why we need more WellChild Children's Nurses
Caring for seriously ill children is at the heart of the work we do, and the WellChild Children’s Nurse programme provides a service that was not previously available to families of children and young people with long term complex health needs.
The programme is now expanding to create a countrywide network of WellChild Nurses who are improving the lives of sick children and their families by helping to ensure that children with complex needs can leave hospital and return home wherever possible. Our nurses are vital in the prevention of frequent hospital re-admissions and they work closely with a wide range of other professionals and local services in the community to ensure that families receive the support they need.
Every child's needs are different and WellChild Nurses gives specialist care, tailored to the needs of the children and young people in their area. They act as an advocate for families to make sure that children’s care needs are met, and provide advice to parents on other available services. In addition, they assess and monitor the ongoing and future care needs of the child and family, and provide emotional support – especially during times of crisis.
Our nurses are of immense value to the children and families they support, but also to the community as a whole. Here we break down some of the key reasons why more WellChild Children’s Nurses are needed.
There are more children living with long term complex health needs now
This means there are more children with serious conditions needing ongoing health care.
More home care support is needed
Every parent knows that caring for a sick child is hard. Caring for a child with a serious illness or life-threatening condition is a physical, financial and emotional struggle.
Sometimes hospital stays are essential, but many seriously sick children could be cared for at home, if their families have the specialist support they need there. There is a lack of nurses to support parents with this care and with the complex transition from hospital to home.
How WellChild Children’s Nurses make a difference
The WellChild Children’s Nurse programme is making a big difference. It is recognised as a model of care that is highly effective, bringing expertise and vital support to children and families, and to the hospitals and community nursing teams – and giving immediate results.
WellChild Children’s Nurses are highly qualified paediatric nurses funded by WellChild and employed by the local health service provider. They care for children with a wide range of conditions which can be life limiting, life threatening, degenerative, congenital or caused as a result of an accident. Many children will be born with very complex needs affecting many of the body’s major organs and systems. Some children will never have a diagnosis so their future is difficult to predict.
WellChild Nurses respond to the needs of individual children and so the role is varied, but typically involves:
• Co-ordinating a child transition from hospital to home, ensuring that all necessary equipment, care and support is in place for the family
• Co-ordinating the child’s care once at home and providing nursing care
• Training parents and carers in the use of equipment such as oxygen and feeding tubes
• Providing emotional and practical support day to day and, crucially, at times of crisis
• Arranging respite care to give parents a much-needed break
• Providing information and advice on support services available including specialist schools, equipment and financial support
The extraordinary support provided by our nurses ensures that caring for a child with severe, long-term illness at home is possible. And because families are better able to cope, more children can be cared for at home and they are less likely to be re-admitted to hospital.
"It is clear that there is
currently inequity in service
provision, with a need to
increase the number of
community children's nurses
and to ensure availability 24/7.
Improved communication and
better co-ordinated services
are vital between health and
social care to meet the needs
of children with complex
health care needs. The
community children's nurse is
often the lynch pin in the
provision of seamless care."