East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH) has released a video to show what a day in the life of one of its Clinical Nurse Specialists can be like, as the organisation launches a fundraising campaign to provide two ‘star’ nurses.
Become an EACH Star Maker and help provide ‘star’ nurses for vulnerable families
EACH is asking supporters to do 100 star jumps a day over five days and raise at least £50, as part of Star Makers. The charity hopes its campaign will raise £64,000 in total, enough to provide two nurses like Jenna Ridout (pictured).
Jenna has worked in nursing for 11 years, joining EACH in October 2017. She is part of the charity’s Symptom Mangement Nursing Service (SMNS) and specialises in supporting children on long term ventilation and their families.
Her video starts at home around 8am, when she checks her work phone and emails before heading into EACH’s hospice in Milton. Once inside, Jenna checks in with her team via video call, explaining that the camaraderie is really valuable at this time.
She said: “These virtual meetings are really important for the whole team, especially myself and the other long term ventilation nurse specialist, to be able to keep a check on what’s going on across all three sites (EACH also has hospices in Norfolk and Suffolk), with the families and professionals that we deal with, and prioritise any issues and tasks that we need to carry out. We’ll go through our caseloads and also just have a general catch-up because it’s very difficult not seeing each other every day. We’re a really close team and we like saying hello to each other!”
By 11am Jenna has finished meetings and shows how chunky a folder for just one child can be, as she prepares to update information that will keep them safe when they are at the hospice or when staff are visiting them in the community.
At around 1.30pm Jenna puts her scrubs on, along with colleague Yasmin Farquhar, and begins an hour’s drive to meet a new family to EACH, eventually emerging from the family’s home at 4.45pm, having spent two hours meeting everyone, carrying out a clinical review, looking at their equipment and taking photos for in-house photo guides.
Jenna said: “We talked about professionals they’re involved with, did a full clinical review and discussed things in the community they maybe didn’t think were quite easily accessible to them, and how we could coordinate to help them out. It was really positive.”
At 6.20pm Jenna is back in Milton and doing some admin tasks to finish her day. This includes updating a data collection sheet, which her long term ventilation team of nurses and senior carers do so that they can look back, assess how they have been spending their time and develop their roles in future.
It also includes recording all their contacts with any families throughout the day, whether by email, text, video call or face to face, in order to report on the impact of their service to organisations that have provided funding to support EACH through the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Star Makers will help to make up for losses caused by the pandemic
Money raised during the Star Makers campaign will help ensure EACH can continue providing the support of nurses like Jenna for hundreds of families right across the region. The charity, like others, has taken a considerable funding hit as a result of the pandemic.
Thanks to the efforts of supporters, government funding and taking full advantage of schemes available to it, EACH was able to survive an initial devastating drop in income and help support families at home by phone and online, having rapidly developed its knowledge and expertise in delivering services using virtual technology.
Yasmin, having joined Jenna earlier in the day, said: “On the surface COVID-19 appears to have changed the way a lot of people go about their daily work, encouraging them to think outside the box to complete their tasks at hand. However, the SMNS team at EACH have been thinking outside the box in their everyday work for a long time. The children, young people and families we support through our roles are dynamic and unique, and no two days for our families are the same. The SMNS team adapt to the needs of the families, hearing when they say to us that often they feel isolated, scared and unsure about what is to come over the next days or weeks. We work alongside our families to advocate and encourage. We know we may not change the end of the story for our families, but we try and do everything to support the chapters in between. COVID-19 has brought many struggles for charities like EACH, however, the thing that has not changed during this pandemic is our ongoing commitment to our families and our work. I’m proud to work for such a passionate organisation and be part of the SMNS team.”
While EACH is offering most of its services using virtual technology at the moment, it will need to get back to providing its full range of services as soon as possible. Its loss of income is going to continue for some time, including a period of recovery over the coming months and years that carries huge uncertainty, making Star Makers all the more important.
Karen Newton, EACH Community Fundraising Manager, said: “This is a fun campaign to get involved with over the summer holidays. We’d love to see families and friends taking part together, maybe in relays, fancy dress or by dancing. Those that can’t jump can still make stars with their hands or arms. In addition, we have colour-in stars for windows and dot-to-dot activities, or star-to-star in this case. You can track your progress on our special charts and download a well-deserved certificate at the end. Don’t forget to share your star-making on social media and use the hashtag #EACHStarMakers. We’d also like to say a big thank you to Creative Sponge for supporting us in bringing this campaign together.”
For more information about the campaign and how to get involved visit www.each.org.uk/starmakers.
East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH) aims to maximise the quality of life for children and young people with a life-limiting or life-threatening condition, and to support their families.