WellChild Nurses provide essential care and practical support to children and young people with exceptional health needs and their families. They play a crucial role in enabling children to leave hospital and be cared for at home, reducing the practical, emotional and financial impact for families.
Since the first WellChild Nurse post was established in May 2006 in Birmingham, 50 nurse posts now exist nationally to support children and young people with complex health needs. The main aim of the posts is to provide these children and young people with the best possible quality of care and support on the often difficult journey from hospital to home and beyond.
What does a WellChild Nurse do?
WellChild Nurses care for children and young people with a variety of long term or complex health conditions. As a specialist network WellChild Nurses [they] provide a valuable, seamless, co-ordinated and high-quality model of care both in hospital and the community. Each post was created to provide support for those children and young people most in need in their area. There are WellChild Nurses who care for those requiring long term ventilation support, discharge co-ordinators to get children with the most complex needs home from hospital, and specialist nurses helping young people transition from child to adult services. We also have dedicated parent trainers to help parents learn the skills they need to care for their child and palliative care specialists to support families at the hardest of times.
WellChild Nurses act as a single point of contact for families right across their journey from hospital to home. This can include:
- Planning and co-ordinating a child’s transition from hospital to home, ensuring that all necessary equipment, care and support is in place.
- Working with other professionals to bring services together, ensuring the best possible support at home.
- Providing nursing care and support for the child and family at home, limiting the need for regular trips to hospital for routine medical care.
- Training parents and carers in the use of equipment such as ventilators and feeding tubes.
- Providing emotional and practical support day to day and, crucially, at times of crisis.
- Helping to arrange respite care to give parents a much-needed break.
- Providing information and advice on services – i.e. specialist schools, equipment and financial support.
- Helping to train school or nursery staff in the care needs of a child, if required.
- Signposting families to other WellChild support services and activities such as the WellChild Family Tree, Helping Hands and #notanurse_but campaign.
- Guiding young people and families through the process of transition from child to adult services.
- Supporting families with children requiring palliative care.
50 WellChild Nurses in the network in the 15th Year of the WellChild Nurse programme.
2,711 More than 2,711 children and young people supported by WellChild Nurses across the UK last year.
£6 million More than £6 million invested in the WellChild Nurse programme to date.
The very first person who made us feel calm and somewhat relieved was WellChild Nurse Billy. She was able to answer all of our questions and, thanks to her experience, she made us feel there was a light at the end of the tunnel. We were able to shake the worries away and focus on the possibilities instead of boundaries."