Looking after children with complex needs during COVID-19 lockdown
The COVID-19 pandemic has been a difficult time for the thousands of parents and families across the UK who look after children with complex health needs. Many doctors have not been able to see their patients regularly during lockdown and are keen to know how they can better help and support family carers.
As part of a virtual conference organised by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, four parents created short videos about their experience of caring for their children during the lockdown. These videos were shared with more than 250 doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and care workers as part of this online event.
The parents who spoke at the event are part of the children’s charity WellChild’s “#notanurse_but” campaign. This campaign and the videos produced by the parents highlight the importance of the caring partnership between parents and healthcare professionals.
Some key findings are that communication is vital – virtual support and keeping in touch by phone and email have helped parents through this difficult time. Parents also needed help getting medicines and other medical supplies. Planning ahead, and providing the right support at the right time, was key.
The #notanurse_but campaign run by our partner WellChild aims to shine a light on the reality of looking after children with complex health needs at home, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so that families can get the help they need. This means the right services and support staff at the right times. It also means making sure families have the skills, confidence, and information they need, and emotional support to get through difficult times. We would like to thank the four parents who shared their experiences with us for the online event.
In more recent work (April 2022) the Medicines for Children team developed an information leaflet to support families when making a decision about whether to get their child vaccinated against COVID-19.