A new nursing role to support children with serious breathing problems to be at home with their families has been introduced by a London hospital.
Royal Brompton Hospital this week officially launched the role, created by national children’s charity WellChild, after research highlighted the importance of supporting families’ emotional wellbeing and helping them to understand their child’s condition.
The research, commissioned by WellChild, also noted the need for a role to assist families and carers in learning how to use specialist equipment, such as ventilators, for their children.
”I feel very passionate about delivering the best possible care to children going home on long term ventilation”
Katy Merritt has been appointed as the first WellChild long term ventilated discharge pathway nurse at Royal Brompton and Harefield Foundation Trust in south London, which runs the hospital.
She works with colleagues in the community, hospital and other specialist centres to provide practical and emotional support for families with children who have complex conditions requiring long-term ventilation.
“I feel very passionate about delivering the best possible care to children going home on long term ventilation, and their families. I hope that being a WellChild nurse will allow me to make a very positive different to these families on what is an extremely difficult journey,” said Ms Merritt.
“The WellChild children’s nurse…will make sure that the whole discharge process is safe and achieved as quickly as possible”
Ruth Wakeman, an advanced practitioner at the trust’s children’s long term ventilation service, said: “The move from hospital to home can be a difficult and uncertain time for families whose children require long term ventilation.
“The WellChild children’s nurse can help to establish bonds which sometimes become fractured in these times and will make sure that the whole discharge process is safe and achieved as quickly as possible.”
“Ultimately we want to make sure the growing number of children requiring long term ventilation can be where they can grow, develop and be nurtured with the same access as other children to family life and things like education,” she added.
The new role follows WellChild’s pilot children’s nurse programme, which began in 2006.
Since the pilot, new posts have been created across 18 UK areas including Birmingham, Cambridge, Cardiff, Liverpool, Kirklees, Manchester and Southampton.