Welcome Esther, our WellChild Nurse in Flintshire

Posted on the 12th June 2019

Welcome to Esther Bennington, our new WellChild Children’s Nurse in Flintshire, based at Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board. Esther will be helping children and young people across Flintshire.

The post has been made possible through grants from The Steve Morgan Foundation, The Moondance Foundation and The Waterloo Foundation.

Esther will be based at Catherine Gladstone House in Mancot. 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.

The WellChild Nurse posts seeks 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 will receive close support in the community from a nurse who can help parents gain in confidence and guide them through difficult times.

Prior to this post Esther was WellChild Parent Trainer Nurse at Edge Hill University and Alder Hey Children’s Hospital where her role was to teach parents how to provide essential medical care for their children once they leave hospital. Earlier she worked as a Sister in critical care and as a team leader with children and young people’s complex care packages working with technology dependent children.  She therefore brings considerable expertise and a comprehensive understanding of the needs and challenges faced by the families with whom she will be working.

Esther commented: “Being a WellChild Nurse means the world to me. I enjoy the challenges that supporting children and young people with complex needs and their families brings – supporting them on their journey home, liaising with different teams or sign-posting them to agencies for support.

“Being a WellChild Nurse brings me the support of not only the network of Nurses but also the Family Tree and Helping Hands projects. I am so passionate about WellChild and the work they do. I previously was WellChild Parent Trainer in Alder Hey.”

WellChild Nurse Esther

The WellChild 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.

Ashley Lewis, trustee with the Steve Morgan Foundation who visited the Better At Home suite training facility at Edge Hill University during the application process, said: “The Steve Morgan Foundation are very pleased to have provided a proportion of the funding for the WellChild Children’s Nurse post for Wrexham and Flintshire, and wish Esther all the very best in the new role,”

“As one of a network of paediatric nurses supporting children with long-term complex needs, Esther will be aiming to train family members to be able to support the children fully at home, both by using specialised equipment and also being able to deal with emergencies.

“Trustees felt that enabling parents to provide this level of care in the home environment will help children enjoy life far more than they might if they were based in hospital with family having to visit.”

One child who is benefitting from the extended support WellChild has already enabled is eight month old Phoebe Parry from Wrexham who was born prematurely at 30 weeks and has an undiagnosed condition with significant health needs. WellChild Nurse Esther was first introduced to the family about a month before Phoebe came home. Esther supported the family by helping with communications between all the teams involved with Phoebe, which was proving difficult without Esther’s help. She provided training to Phoebe’s parents and extended family, and helps source supplies for the family when needed. Esther also supports the family by attending appointments at Alder Hey hospital in Liverpool with them. She has helped relieve stress for the family, she is always contactable.

Phoebe’s mother Zoe Henderson said: “Without Esther we wouldn’t be where we are today; with her knowledge and support our journey with Phoebe has become a lot easier and we are starting to see improvements in Phoebe.”

Esther’s manager Patrick Howells, said: “The impact of the WellChild nurse for complex case discharges has been significant in improving the quality of care provided to highly vulnerable children and young people due to their complex medical needs. The post has ensured the transfer of children with the most complex needs from the acute hospital setting back home are well planned and co-ordinated with all the input required to maintain and support the child at home in place prior to the discharge going ahead.

“Esther has worked tirelessly to develop effective communication between the acute wards and specialist centres which provide acute care to children in North East Wales and the community provision needed when children return home. This has enabled a more effective identification of children who may require ongoing community support post discharge and in assisting in well planned and briefer admissions when a child does require in patient care for specific procedures.

“Overall the post continues to make great strides in improving care delivered to children within North East Wales and demonstrates the importance of WellChild’s work in enabling organisations to develop new roles to facilitate these improvements.”

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