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Specialist nurse for seriously ill children in Sheffield

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A national charity is funding a new nurse post at Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust to provide vital support to seriously ill children and young people across Yorkshire.

The new WellChild post, held by Amika Challacombe and officially launched this week, was made possible through a grant from ITV’s Text Santa appeal.

“This role will greatly improve the community care of children needing ventilators”

Linda Partridge

Ms Challacombe will be based at Sheffield Children’s Hospital and specialise in helping children and young people in Yorkshire who need a ventilator to assist with their breathing.

She will help to reduce the time children on long-term ventilation have to spend in hospital by arranging and co-ordinating the care they need at home and providing specialist advice, as well as emotional and other practical support for families.

Ms Challacombe, who has previously working in the hospital’s critical care unit as well as a range of community settings, said: “With my post being put in place, it means we can concentrate on delivering high quality community support at home for children on both long-term invasive and non-invasive ventilation.”

The WellChild Children’s Nurses’ programme was established to address a gap in the provision of care and support for children with long-term serious illness and complex conditions.

Sally Shearer, Sheffield Children’s director of nursing and quality, said: “Having someone who is skilled in a specialism like long-term ventilation makes a real difference as we can expand our service to reach more patients who may be having a tough time.

“The type of care a WellChild children’s nurse is able to provide, out in the community and at patient’s homes can really help to make things easier for our young patients and their families,” she added.

WellChild’s pilot children’s nurse programme began in 2006, and has resulted in the creation of around 20 posts across the country. A further six posts will be funded this year.

Linda Partridge, WellChild’s director of programmes, said: “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 extend that support into this part of Yorkshire.

“We are particularly excited that this role will greatly improve the community care of children needing ventilators and their families within the region,” she added.


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