Ann a staff nurse from Birmingham
“We make sure the children are comfortable, that specialist equipment, including machines which support breathing are working and fitted correctly and that all of their overnight feeds and medicines are given. Sometimes a child may wake up and need a cuddle or a drink, just like any child would.”
Anna Page, lives in Lichfield and is a staff nurse at Acorns in Birmingham, based in Selly Oak.
Anna, who works night shifts, explains that whilst children are asleep overnight, there is still lots of important work to be done, with staff making checks every 15 minutes.
“We make sure the children are comfortable, that specialist equipment, including machines which support breathing are working and fitted correctly and that all of their overnight feeds and medicines are given. Sometimes a child may wake up and need a cuddle or a drink, just like any child would.
“For children who have reduced mobility, it’s also important to check whether they need to be regularly turned over or just need to have a slight repositioning of an arm or leg. This is something very simple but something people who are able-bodied take for granted.”
When children visit Acorns for short breaks, this gives their parents the chance to have a good night’s sleep, to relax and feel reassured that their child is being cared for just as well as if they were at home.
Anna says: “The checks we carry out at Acorns during the night are checks that the parents would potentially have to do at home, which as you can imagine would become very tiring, night after night.
“Many children have to use different types of machines to help them breath during sleep. For these children and their families, an added stress and anxiety can be present, as they worry about the ‘what ifs’ of what the night will bring. The machines are very sensitive and have alarms – so for parents it can be quite disruptive.
“When their child stays at Acorns, parents don’t have to worry because somebody else is carrying out that care and looking after that machine for them. You’re helping to put their mind at rest.”
Anna continues: “I love my job because at Acorns, all the care we provide is tailored to each individual child and their families’ specific needs and I think that’s really important.
“When I tell people that I’m a nurse and I work at a children’s hospice, they gasp, but the reality is not what many people imagine; we go and play or use the hydrotherapy pool, there are lots of activities to participate in, we laugh and smile a lot and importantly have lots of fun. It’s about living not dying.”
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The care we provide
Acorns provides babies, children and young people aged 0-18 years who have life limiting or life threatening conditions and associated complex needs with a network of specialist palliative nursing care and support across the Heart of England. Acorns relies on the community to fund the majority of its activities. To learn more about what we do, please watch this video.