Funded Nurse Making Significant Impact

A nurse who is helping people in Wrexham and Flintshire thanks to a fundraising partnership involving the Steve Morgan Foundation is making a positive impact with local families.

Esther Bennington has been appointed to the role of Children’s Nurse at the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board in Flintshire, thanks to a link-up between charity WellChild, £75,000 over three years from the Steve Morgan Foundation and further contributions from The Moondance Foundation and The Waterloo Foundation.

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Esther’s role is to train families to be able to look after children with long-term and complex medical needs at home rather than needing to stay in hospital.

In her first six months in the role, she has been working with 30 children or young people and their families, of which 21 have now been discharged home.

She has provided families with various specialist needs including neurodevelopment, respiratory issues, rare disorders, end of life care, complex additional needs, learning difficulties and Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS).

One of Esther’s immediate priorities has been to develop effective communication between the acute wards and specialist centres providing care to children in North East Wales and the community provision needed when they return home.

A new ‘complex needs passport’ has summarised all this information in one document to identify children who require ongoing community support at home and helping with well-planned and briefer admissions when a child requires in-patient care.

Among those already benefitting from Esther’s role are young baby Phoebe, from Wrexham, and mum Zoe.

Phoebe was born prematurely at 30 weeks and has an undiagnosed condition with significant health needs. 

Esther has supported the family from a month before Phoebe returned home, training both Phoebe’s parents and immediate family in the care required, helping with all the relevant communication, and attending appointments at Alder Hey Hospital with them when required.

“Without Esther we wouldn’t be where we are today,” said Zoe.

“With her knowledge and support our journey with Phoebe has become a lot easier and we are starting to see improvements in Phoebe.”

Amongst the many others to have required Esther’s assistance, another family said: 

“Esther is always available to reassure us and sign post us to the right people. 

“She is calm and knowledgeable and always willing to listen.

“ She taught us to repass (reposition) our daughter’s nasogastric tube and was really patient teaching us and supporting us; we even ‘role-played’ what to do if things went wrong, which when it did meant I didn’t panic and knew what to do.”

Esther’s line manager Martin McSpadden, Paediatric and Neonatal Service Manager, says:   “We are fortunate to have Esther as our WellChild Nurse, and the impact of this post has been immediate and significant.

“ This has already become a post that I cannot envisage working effectively without, and has brought a coherency to discharge planning and liaison that was not always evident previously. 

“Esther has given the teams a confidence in the discharge planning process, and an assurance that each discharge is appropriate, timely and comprehensive. 

“More significantly, she has brought this confidence and assurance to the families she has worked with.

‘I look forward to the continued development of this role, and have complete confidence that Esther is the right person to proactively drive the service forward with the child and family at the centre.” 

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