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14th Jan 2017
WellChild, the national charity for seriously ill children, is funding a new post at Edge Hill University and Alder Hey Children’s Hospital to provide a WellChild Parent Trainer Nurse
This week is the official launch of the new post, held by Esther Bennington, which was made possible through grants from The Steven Gerrard Foundation and The Oglesby Charitable Trust among others.
Esther will be based Alder Hey with full access to the Better at Home Suite at Edge Hill University. Through this unique post, she will support families of seriously ill children and young people. As the WellChild Parent Trainer Nurse she will work with families of children with exceptional health needs training them in the many skills they need.
Prior to this post Esther worked as a Sister in critical care and most recently as a team leader with children and young people’s complex care packages working with technology dependent children. She therefore brings considerable expertise and a comprehensive understanding of the needs and challenges faced by the families with whom she will be working.
Esther commented: “I am extremely excited about being in this role. Families with children who have exceptional health needs often have to learn many health skills, my role supports these skills delivering bespoke, flexible, training to match parent’s needs. I can do this in a variety of settings; on the ward, at home, in school, community centres and at the Better at Home Suite in Edge Hill University.
“The Better at Home Suite is a fantastic and innovative resource for families of children with exceptional health needs where families can be supported to provide safe, confident and competent care for their child at home.”
The WellChild Nurses’ programme was established to address a clear gap in the provision of care and support for children with long-term serious illness and complex conditions. In addition to keeping families together and benefitting a child’s development, it is often more cost efficient to care for a child at home than in hospital. One child who is benefitting from the extended support WellChild has already enabled is Amelia Beilby-Dainton. Amelia has Pontocerebellar hypoplasia – which means she has significant difficulties with movement and communication. She requires support with her breathing from a ventilator as well as support for all her other needs.
Her mother, Shelley Beilby, said; “Esther has helped me to gain confidence outside the hospital and ward. She has provided support when out and about, in taxis and at home. She has run through what things might happen and supported me with how to deal with most situations that could happen with Amelia. Without the parent trainer role it would have taken me longer to build up my confidence and get home with Amelia. Amelia would have also missed out on so many experiences.”
Esther’s manager, WellChild Nurse Team Leader Elaine O’Brien, said: “Since the introduction of Esther in the role of WellChild Parent Trainer the support for families has increased considerably with regards to training and education. In a few short months Esther has had a huge positive impact on families lives, this has either been in the form of refresher training to make sure families are up to date with the latest skills or by training families from the start to enable them to support their child at home as soon as possible with confidence and competence. Sometimes considerably reducing time spent in hospital.
“I am sure the WellChild Parent Trainer role will continue to be vital to the safe care of children with exceptional needs in the community.”
WellChild’s pilot Children’s Nurse programme began in 2006, and its success has already resulted in the creation of posts in Ayrshire, Birmingham, Bristol, Cambridge, Cardiff, Cumbria, Newcastle, Nottingham. East Sussex, Edinburgh, Hywel Dda in Wales, Kirklees, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Oxford, Southampton, Sheffield, Walsall and West Sussex. Further posts will be funded during this year.
WellChild continues to fundraise to add to its team so that these children across the United Kingdom will benefit from its services.
Linda Partridge, WellChild’s Director of Programmes, said: “We have worked to make sure that the essential service now provided by WellChild Children’s Nurses in regions of the UK have a long-reaching impact. Our target is for every seriously ill child or young person to have access to a WellChild Children’s Nurse, and I am delighted that we have now been able to introduce this new Parent Trainer post in Merseyside. We’re particularly excited that this role is the first of its kind to focus on providing education for parents of children with long-term serious illness and complex conditions.”
For further information about WellChild’s work, please see www.wellchild.org.uk
Alder Hey Children's Charity