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.
What is a WellChild Nurse?
WellChild Nurses care for children and young people with a variety of conditions which can be life limiting, life threatening, degenerative, congenital or caused as a result of an accident. Many of the children that our nurses care for will have been born with very complex needs affecting many of the body’s major organs and systems. WellChild Nurses are often supporting children who will sadly never ‘be cured’ but will need the ongoing specialist support to ensure they have the very best possible quality of life and at home wherever possible.
What does a WellChild Nurse do?
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.
“The support of our WellChild Nurse has been a game changer. She sorts everything from medical supplies to home adaptations, communicating with the many professionals involved as well as being, quite literally, a shoulder to cry on. We would be lost without her.”
Last year WellChild Nurses supported 2,154 children young people and families. Our priority is to increase the impact of the WellChild Nurse programme through the creation of further posts in areas where they are most needed – including new and innovative models.
Find a WellChild Nurse
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WellChild Nurses - FAQs for families
I’m a parent of a child with long-term complex needs. How do I get a WellChild Nurse?
WellChild is not directly involved in deciding which families are supported by WellChild Nurses. However if there is a WellChild Nurse in your area and you would like to know if this service is available to you, then you will need to speak to your child’s paediatrician, GP or other health professional about whether you can be referred. Each WellChild Nurse has a slightly different role depending on the group of children and young people they are looking after. For example, some WellChild Nurses only support children and young people who are ventilated.
Is there a WellChild Nurse in my area?
The WellChild Nurses map shows the areas of the UK which are currently covered by this service. This network continues to expand and our aim is to have a WellChild Nurse in every area of the UK to ensure that all children and young people with long term and complex health conditions can have access should they need one.
WellChild Nurses - FAQs for professionals
How are WellChild Nurses funded?
WellChild currently funds each nurse for a period of three years after which time the individual NHS health provider commits to continue the post. Please note this commitment to continuing the service is a condition of the funding being awarded. Each nurse is employed and managed by the local healthcare trust in which they work. Funding for each nurse comes entirely from donations to the charity.
How do I apply for a WellChild Nurse?
For all information on how to apply for a nurse post in your area please see here. Please note we are only able to accept applications from NHS health providers and are not currently in a position to fund nurses based within other charities such as hospices.
How do I apply to be a WellChild Nurse?
All WellChild Nurse posts are advertised on the NHS Jobs site. They are also listed on the WellChild website here.
Is there a set model for a WellChild Nurse post?
Since the first WellChild Nurse post was established in May 2006 in Birmingham, the programme has adapted in line with the developing needs of children and young people we aim to support. This has seen the introduction of different specialist nurse models focussing on key areas including long term ventilation, complex discharge, palliative care, cardiac nutrition, parent training and education, special school nursing, continuing care and more recently transition.