Helpline for parents and carers of ill children launched by hospice

PUBLISHED: 07:02 30 May 2018 | UPDATED: 07:14 30 May 2018

Keech Hospice Care's new 24-hour helpline is designed to support parents and carers with ill children. Picture: Keech Hospice Care

Keech Hospice Care's new 24-hour helpline is designed to support parents and carers with ill children. Picture: Keech Hospice Care

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Keech Hospice Care has launched a new helpline for parents and carers of terminal or life-limited children.

Jenny Alger is delighted to have day and night support available for her son, Jacob. Picture: Keech Hospice CareJenny Alger is delighted to have day and night support available for her son, Jacob. Picture: Keech Hospice Care

The 24-hour service is available seven days a week to support those looking after severally ill children in Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire.

Keech’s lead child nurse Sonya O’Leary has explained more about the helpline, saying: “Launching this new service is an innovative step for us.

“Access to specialist advice on palliative care over the phone 24/7 is not widely available in the UK, so we want to reach out to as many families in our local community as we can, as we believe anyone facing a terminal or life-limiting illness should receive excellent care and support.

“Most of our families have several consultants, doctors and nurses involved in their child’s care - all looking at individual aspects of their illness.

“We look at that child and family’s needs as a whole, take a holistic approach and try to reduce the need for them to go to hospital as much as possible.”

The helpline will be manned by a qualified nurse at all times, with a specialist nurse available when required.

Jenny Alger from Shefford is one of those parents whose child needs the Luton-based hospice’s care, and she is delighted with the new service.

“My three-year-old son Jacob has Dravet syndrome,” said Jenny.

“This means he can have a seizure at any time. The longest we have been without a seizure in his whole life is about six weeks and so making sure we have the support we need on hand is essential.

“Jacob can be fine one minute but he’ll become ill really quickly the next.

“We have grown more confident in learning how to deal with it, but having Keech on call 24 hours a day is a lifesaver for us and would be for any family like ours too.

“Just being able to speak directly to the nurses’ station and get advice on what to do straight away is amazing.

“I’m delighted this service is being launched and hope it will support families like mine with the problems they are facing every day. The support you get from Keech Hospice Care is a lifesaver.”

To contact the hospice’s 24-hour helpline call 0800 035 6497, and for more about Keech in general visit keech.org.uk.

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