Hospice nurses caring for vulnerable children during pandemic

PUBLISHED: 15:13 24 April 2020 | UPDATED: 15:13 24 April 2020

Nurses from Charlton Farm are helping to care for vulnerable children during the pandemic.

Nurses from Charlton Farm are helping to care for vulnerable children during the pandemic.


Nurses from Children’s Hospice South West (CHSW) are helping to relieve pressure on NHS staff by keeping children out of hospital during the pandemic.

The charity, which is based at Charlton Farm in Wraxall, has adapted its day-to-day care provision to provide support to vulnerable children in the community.

CHSW, which has hospices in Somerset, Devon and Cornwall, supports more than 500 children with life-limiting illnesses and their families across the South West.

More: Children’s hospice launches campaign to raise vital funds for families.

Staff are still offering symptom management and end-of-life care. However, planned respite stays at the hospices have been cancelled, with support being offered over the phone, as well as in children’s own homes.

In addition to the services being provided to families already known to the charity, hospice care teams are working alongside NHS and local care providers to support other vulnerable children and young people, helping to free up essential resources needed to respond to the coronavirus outbreak.

CHSW’s director of care, Alli Ryder said: “While we will always prioritise the children and the families that we work with, we are working with the NHS and other care providers to help keep hospital admissions down and ensure that no child or family is left without care.

“Our hospice nurses are using their expertise out in the community, for example, providing care directly in the family home if required, or ensuring families have the food supplies they need.”

CHSW will also host a hub at each of its hospices where local care professionals can work together to identify gaps in care provision for the region’s most vulnerable children and young people and look at the best services to support them.

Alli said she hopes the combined approach to meet local health needs will continue after the pandemic. She added: “It’s been a huge operational and organisational change but the feel – that social, cultural, family aspect of our care shines through; and our ability to meet the needs of children and families in a compassionate way continues.”

As the charity’s fundraising events have been postponed and its shops are closed, the hospice is appealing for people to continue supporting its vital work.

It is asking supporters to do whatever they can to help through its Be Incredible campaign. For details, log on to www.chsw.org.uk/beincredible.

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