Nationally the Royal College of Nursing has found that, sadly, terminally ill children are being let down by a lack of staff, training and resources in children’s community health services.
An RCN survey of children’s nurses (between January to March 2015) found that many children are not being given the choice to die at home – if that is the family’s wish - as there are not enough trained staff to provide 24/7 care in this setting.
The survey found 48% of children’s nurses lack the resources and skills to deliver the right levels of palliative care for children whilst a fifth of children’s nurses said they have never received any specific training in palliative care
However in Sussex things are quite different from this national picture, thanks to Chestnut Tree – where we provide dedicated end-of-life care and symptom management – both at the hospice and in children’s own homes. The nurses at our children’s hospice have excellent training to care for children across East and West Sussex and South East Hampshire with complex symptoms and palliative care needs.
All of the nurses working at Chestnut Tree get the time required for training to deliver the highest level of care that these children and families require. We have a competency framework, dedicated clinical educator, study days, mandatory training and nationally-recognised qualifications. The team also spend time advising other professionals across Sussex on how best to care for these children and manage their symptoms, as well as providing formal training.
Our biggest problem is that all of this costs money – which is why we are so dependent on the generous people of Sussex to continue supporting us.
For further information about Chestnut Tree and the care we provide please visit www.chestnut-tree-house.org.uk