Julia's House Children's Hospice still offering respite care to families in Dorset

Julia's House Children's Hospice still offering respite care to families in Dorset

Published by Maria Greenwood at 11:29am 15th May 2020.

Families with children with life-limiting conditions can still access respite care from Dorset's children's Hospice.

Julia's House is doing everything it can to adapt to changing government guidelines.

Nurses from the charity are still able to go into family homes and offer support in person.

Wessex FM has spoken to Claire Hudson-Cooper who is a lead nurse at the Charity.

She's been working in palliative care for most of her career and for the last 10 years has worked for Julia's House. 

She says the nurses main aim during lockdown has been to help families and alleviate some of the pressure they are under.

"The most rewarding part of our job during the pandemic has been that we're still lucky enough to make contact and support, whether it's virtual or in person. 

"Where possible we've still been able to go into family's homes and allow them to have a couple of hours of respite care. 

"That's been incredible, and the team feel a great sense of achievement and really value the opportunity to be able to do that." 

But their nurses are still facing challenges in lockdown, and are still trying to get the right PPE.

PPE

Claire says working as a Lead Nurse during the pandemic has been challenging but very rewarding.

"We've had to be flexible and adapt to the government guidelines, which in the first few weeks was changing on a daily basis.

"The families still have needs, so we've had to change the way we work by offering more virtual support but we're still doing community visits.

"For the children that are shielding, we're collecting shopping and medication, we're doing everything we can possible to make it less stressful for them.

"Some of the families still can't leave their homes, because their children are so vulnerable."

One of Claire's colleague's, Rebecca Charlton, transferred to a local Emergency Department at the beginning of the pandemic, she'd only left the ED three months before the pandemic started.

Nurse Rebecca Charlton in a surgical mask.  Rebecca usually wears the full PPE.
Nurse Rebecca Charlton in a surgical mask. Rebecca usually wears the full PPE.

Rebecca made the decision to go back to the NHS during to help with COVID-19 as she has over 13 years' experience of working in an emergency department.

This is where she felt the most pressure was for the NHS frontline staff.

Claire says this is where Rebecca felt her skills were most needed:

"She spoke to us about it and we're incredibly proud of her going back to the NHS and having to work with all the PPE equipment, long shifts and living away from her family to not put them in any danger."