Meet our WellChild Nurse Alex McClements who cares for children in London, based at St George’s Hospital.
Alex is the WellChild Clinical Nurse Specialist for Paediatric Respiratory and Long Term Ventilation and is part of the St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. Her role covers the south west boroughs of Wandsworth, Merton, Sutton, Kingston, Richmond, Croydon and Surrey.
Through her unique post, Alex supports families by working closely with colleagues in the community, hospitals and other specialist centres to ensure the highest quality of care.
The WellChild Nurse posts seek to support families at home to minimize the times they have to be admitted into hospital which can be upsetting for families. Through this post they receive close support in the community from a nurse who can help parents gain in confidence and guide them through difficult times.
On taking up her role Alex said: “I am very excited to be starting my new role as a WellChild LTV clinical nurse specialist at St George’s Hospital. Long term ventilation has always been an interest of mine, and I find it very rewarding being able to help and support these children and families that have been in hospital for long periods of time.
“I really enjoy supporting and working with community and clinical teams in the discharge planning of children requiring LTV, it’s very valuable to see all the different multidisciplinary teams working together to achieve the same goal.
“I look forward to working with the team at St George’s hospital to continue to support these children and family’s needs whilst developing and shaping the service within my new role. It will be valuable in my role to be part of the WellChild team, I look forward to using resources and support from the network to continue to support and care for these families.”
Prior to becoming a WellChild Nurse Alex was a Children’s nurse at the Royal Brompton hospital in London within their Long Term Ventilation team. There she managed and supported the discharge of children who required LTV at home, working alongside hospitals and hospices in London and the South East. This gave her further insight and understanding into the clinical needs of these children and the complex planning involved to get them home. Earlier in her career she cared for children requiring long term ventilation in a variety of settings, including high dependency units and a transitional care unit.
These roles have given Alex an insight into the experiences and challenges that these families often face and she brings considerable expertise and a comprehensive understanding of their needs and challenges.
Alex’s manager, Tara Parker, Paediatric Matron at St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Alex has revolutionised our service. During a time of unprecedented need, Alex has helped discharge numerous children and offers the families ongoing support at home. Thank you WellChild for your support.”
One of the families Alex supports is 15 month old Benjamin Herratt and his parents Frankie and Tom. Benjamin has chronic lung disease, he has a tracheostomy and is on a ventilator 24 hours a day.
Mum Frankie said: “Our LTV nurse Alex, part of the WellChild family, was instrumental in getting Benjamin home and ensures we have all we need. She is there to help whatever the issue and helped push things forwards regarding Benjamin’s in hospital and at home care.”
Linda Partridge, WellChild’s Director of Programmes, said: “We have worked to make sure that the essential service now provided by WellChild Children’s Nurses in regions of the UK have 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 this area of London.”