Manchester Better at Home Suite brings new support for families
WellChild's new Better at Home Suite in Manchester has opened, bringing support for seriously ill children and their families across the area, allowing their parents to receive vital training to care for them at home.
WellChild is funding the project at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, part of Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust (MFT). The project was made possible through grants from The October Club and Medicash.
WellChild Better at Home training suites provide home-from-home spaces where parents and carers can learn the often life-saving interventions needed by their child in a safe environment with state-of-the-art simulation equipment. They also provide the opportunity to train extended family members to widen the support network for families. Set-up like a child’s bedroom, they provide a safe space to prepare for providing care in the home. At Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital the Better at Home Suite is based on the ward so it is easy for parents to access.
The aim of clinical skills training for parents and carers is to supportively nurture their competence and confidence in caring for their child and thus support early discharge from hospital and prevent hospital readmission. The training aims to empower families and unpaid carers to provide safe and effective, evidenced based care for their child with complex and often changing medical needs.
One child who is already benefitting from the extended support WellChild has enabled is Nathan, from Bolton, who was born with a rare and complex birth disorder called Pentalogy of Cantrell. Born in October 2019, Nathan has never been well enough to go home from the hospital with mum and dad Patrick and Joy Browne. In his short life, he has already had 11 procedures under general anaesthetic including open heart surgery and three other major surgeries. During his time in the hospital, one of those people involved in his care has been WellChild Nurse Anna Hughes who mum Joy describes as an amazing source of support.
At the WellChild Better at Home suite we used manikins and the suite itself was set up like a home. We were able to put ourselves in a home like structure when in the suite and train based on scenarios and privacy. As parents, we got taught how to use different types of tracheotomy tapes and examining the stoma site for infection. We were also taught how to change a tracheostomy tube single handed in case of an emergency.
Nathan has a tracheostomy and is long term ventilated and his parents are learning how to care for him at the WellChild Better at Home Suite.
His mum Joy said: “Sam and Tracy are the Hospital Trust’s parent trainers and did all our training on the ward and in the WellChild Better at Home Suite. We were trained as parents in ICU to look after Nathan, but we got a thorough training from Sam and Tracy regarding tracheostomy and ventilation.
“At the WellChild Better at Home suite we used manikins and the suite itself was set up like a home. We were able to put ourselves in a home like structure when in the suite and train based on scenarios and privacy. As parents, we got taught how to use different types of tracheotomy tapes and examining the stoma site for infection. We were also taught how to change a tracheostomy tube single handed in case of an emergency.”
Julia Birchall-Searle, Director of Nursing and Health Professionals at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital and Managed Clinical Services said: “The WellChild Suite on Ward 83 is a fantastic facility that supports parents preparing to go home with their child who requires home ventilation.
“It creates a space that mimics the home environment where families can be taught by our parent educators Sam and Tracy and then practice these skills with their support to gain confidence ahead of going home with their child.
“RMCH is so lucky to have been supported by WellChild in its refurbishment so we can now offer this educational space to families. We have had overwhelmingly positive feedback our families, who had said how well supported they feel in practicing these really crucial skills in hospital before going home”.
WellChild Interim Chief Executive Matt James said: “It is great to be able to expand the important services offered by our Better at Home Suites to children and families in Manchester.
“WellChild now has eight Better at Home training projects across the UK and this year will see the opening of another three. Every training suite that WellChild can provide will help families like Nathan’s to care with confidence and learn the vital skills needed to keep their children safe at home.
“A huge thank you to The October Club and Medicash who are funding this project. This funding is a huge boost. By expanding this vital programme to new parts of the UK, we can give more parents and carers the skills and confidence to care for their children safely at home, where they will have the very best chance to thrive.”