Nursing service is a lifeline for parents of disabled childrenBy Laura Herbert
July 17, 2012
The Paediatric Integrated Nursing Team in Ryeish Green provides respite and nursing care to children with complex health needs.
The Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust service offers overnight visits as well as home respite care for children and their families. It celebrated its first birthday to mark the anniversary of becoming a joint team.
Chief reporter Laura Herbert found out more about the team’s work.
The Paediatric Integrated Nursing Team in Ryeish Green is a lifeline for some families of children with complex health needs.
The team operates a respite unit from a bungalow next to the former Ryeish Green School, as well as offering respite care to families at home.
The team currently looks after 25 children at its Ryeish Green site, which takes children from Wokingham and Reading, and its site in Newbury, which takes children from West Berkshire.
Manager Laura Chandler said: “We have nurses and nursery nurses who look after children with complex health needs, including disabled children in a wheelchair, while some of the children are cognitive and can understand and talk and some can’t.
“Ryeish Green is one of two sites I run with three beds so children, if they are of school age, would come over from school and stay overnight to give parents a break at home.
“Because these children have such profound needs their siblings can get a bit left out so they usually come for a couple of nights a week.”
During term time the centre also offers pre-school sessions, and there are clubs for children of all ages during school holidays.
For the last year the respite and home service teams have joined up, and they marked the birthday with a party for families. Mrs Chandler said: “We thought it would develop a much better team around the children, which is why we had a first birthday and siblings were able to come along as well.
“I think it is good for staff as well because working in the home can be lonely so they now do a mix, and when they come into the centre they have their colleagues around them.”
The birthday party in May brought together a number of families and their children, who got to explore a police car complete with flashing lights and sirens.
Mrs Chandler said: “It was really successful and I was able to have a parents’ meeting as they can’t often come out in the evenings. It also meant all the parents could come together and give feedback to each other.”
She added: “Without us I don’t think some of those parents would be able to cope, and they rarely get quality time with each other. Some of them are at the end of their tether and we are a lifeline.
“Most of the families access hospices in Winchester and Oxford so this is very close to them and they have all got to know us.”
- The Paediatric Integrated Nursing Team is happy to receive donations of money and toys. To donate or find out more about the service call (0118) 988 2512.