New Year Brings New Hope for Seriously Ill Children and Families in Tower Hamlets

Families of children with complex medical needs in Tower Hamlets to benefit from new training facility - The WellChild Better at Home Mobile Resource.

By Charlotte Edwards · January 23, 2024

Families of seriously ill children in Tower Hamlets are set to receive vital support from a dedicated new training facility. The Better at Home Mobile Resource, a project by WellChild, the national charity for seriously ill children, was officially opened this month at Mile End Hospital. This facility is designed to deliver essential training for families whose children have complex medical needs to enable them to move from hospital and live safely in the comfort of their own homes. It  became a reality through a generous donation from Property Race Day.

This cutting-edge resource is the 13th in WellChild’s nationwide network of Better at Home resources which help parents and caregivers acquire life-saving skills and interventions in a secure setting. Using specialist equipment to simulate real-life scenarios, the Better at Home programme gives families the chance to prepare for providing care at home in a private and secure environment.

Among those set to benefit from this new facility is the family of Emel Pirotta aged 20 months from Wapping, who was born with heart problems and, following multiple surgeries, has single ventricle circulation and a nasogastric tube for all her feeding and medication. The Better at Home Training kit ensures families like Emel’s can receive training in a private and comfortable setting, free from the disruptions of a hospital ward.

Having spent the first few months of her life in and out of hospital, Emel is now at home with her mother, Danielle Joyce, and her sister, Esmé. Danielle said:

“When you’re a parent of a severely sick baby, training for basic life support skills and to be able to insert a nasogastric tube when needed are vital skills to keep your baby well and safe.  Knowing that I can get this kind of training from home and I don’t have to travel and struggle with two children and medical equipment is a huge relief and takes away a little of that stress.”

Danielle Joyce

The Mobile Training Kit can be transported to convenient locations for families and medical professionals in the area to have an opportunity for focused education, better preparing parents and caregivers for potential crises or emergency situations.

Kath Evans, director of children’s nursing at Barts Health NHS Trust, said:

“We are incredibly grateful to WellChild for their support in funding these resources to support families in caring for their children at home. Our community children’s nursing team lead the way in listening and responding to the needs of families who repeatedly highlight the importance of avoiding hospital admissions where possible. Educating and supporting parents and carers with clinical skills to meet their children’s needs in the community are key to this. The launch was a fantastic celebration!”

WellChild CEO, Matt James, expressed his enthusiasm for the new facility, stating, “Our Better at Home suites are vital in giving parents and carers the skills and confidence they need to care for their children safely at home, where they will have the very best chance to thrive. We’re delighted to be able to extend this support to more families. Huge thanks go to The Property Race Day for making it possible to provide this crucial support for families in Tower Hamlets.”