'A lifeline' in Covid: Children's hospice care team up for nursing award

Dee Coughlan and Michele Higgins from Haven House Children's Hospice

Dee Coughlan and Michele Higgins from Haven House Children's Hospice celebrate after the charity's care team was shortlisted for a Royal College of Nursing award. - Credit: Haven House Children's Hospice

A children's hospice has been recognised for its work supporting families during the Covid pandemic.

The care team at Haven House in Woodford Green has been shortlisted in the Commitment to Carers category at the Royal College of Nursing's (RCN's) Nursing Awards.

In the award citation on the RCN website, the team are described as being a "lifeline" for those looking after children with life-limiting conditions in the pandemic.

Eileen White, the hospice's director of care, described the shortlisting as "so exciting".

She said: "I couldn’t be more proud of the team for never stopping to provide essential support to families in crisis as well as the NHS.

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"The philosophy of Haven House is to promote the best possible quality of life and care for every child with a life-limiting or life-threatening condition and their family."

The charity said its work had included helping to quickly discharge children from hospital, even going out of area to respond to emergency requests.

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A spokesperson added: "This enabled whole families to be together during such an unimaginable time either in the hospice or at home with 24/7 support."

Virtual assistance offered to families came in the form of music therapy, counselling, therapeutic yoga, play and physiotherapy.

For those grieving lost children, a virtual memory day service was delivered.

The citation said: "A dynamic package of carer support was delivered according to individual family needs.

"This included coffee mornings offering vital peer support and visits from the play team, which delivered play materials to the doorstep as well as holding virtual play sessions for siblings to help provide stimulation in lockdown."

A dad's group was also delivered online at weekends, providing peer and professional advice.

The hospice said the support "helped ease some of the effects of the restriction of services caused by the pandemic".

Eileen added: “Staff have excelled in circumstances of profound pressure and we are proud to be shortlisted so that we can showcase the commitment and resilience of such an extraordinary team.”

Haven House is up against three other contenders for the national award, with the winner to be revealed later this year.

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