WellChild Nurse provides new hope for seriously ill children in Cornwall

Posted on the 29th March 2017

Today is the official launch of the new WellChild Nurse post, which was made possible through a grant from ITV’s Text Santa appeal. Michelle will be the WellChild Children’s Nurse for Complex Care, helping children and young people in Cornwall.

Michelle will be based at the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro. Through this unique post, she will support families by working closely with colleagues in the community, hospitals and other specialist centres to ensure the highest quality of care. As the WellChild Children’s Nurse she will help to reduce the time children have to spend in hospital by arranging and coordinating the care they need at home and providing specialist advice as well as emotional and other practical support for the whole family.

Michelle commented: “As a WellChild Nurse I have the opportunity to be able to support children with exceptional health needs and their families both in hospital and at home.  This unique role allows me to have the flexibility to meet the individual needs of each child and family as they require. Seeing a child at home with their family and knowing that your input has made sure this has been achieved without delay, safely and with the family having the correct support around them, is amazing.”

The WellChild Children’s Nurses’ programme was established to address a clear gap in the provision of care and support for children with long-term serious illness and complex conditions. In addition to keeping families together and benefitting a child’s development, it is often more cost efficient to care for a child at home than in hospital. One child who is benefitting from the extended support WellChild has already enabled is ten year old Curtis Rail who has the rare condition Charge Syndrome. He has congenital heart problems, a tracheostomy and is ventilated 24 hours a day.

The support of our WellChild nurse has been a real game changer. She visits every day and sorts everything from medical supplies to home adaptations, communicating with the many professionals involved as well as being, quite literally, a shoulder to cry on. We would be so lost without her.

Curtis’s mother Louise

Michelle’s manager Mel Gilbert, Matron, Child health and NNU, said: “Since Michelle has been in post she has made a real difference to those patients with long term, chronic conditions and their families.

“Her role includes liaison between families and ward staff, ensuring any areas for concern are passed onto the correct teams and solutions found; liaison between members of the multidisciplinary team to ensure smoother systems of working but most importantly Michelle is the ‘voice’ for a potentially vulnerable group of patients who without her may not have their voice heard. As a team we cannot imagine not having a Well child nurse in post as Michelle has been invaluable.”

Linda Partridge, WellChild’s Director of Programmes, said: “The WellChild Children’s Nurse Programme exists to meet the growing need for help for the thousands of children, young people and families across the UK who lack the support in their transition from hospital to home. We have worked to make sure that the essential service provided by our growing network of WellChild Children’s Nurses has a long-reaching impact.

Our target is for every seriously ill child or young person to have access to a WellChild Children’s Nurse, and I am delighted that we have now been able to extend that support into Cornwall. We are particularly excited that this role will greatly improve the community care of children who require complex care and their families within the region.”

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