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Gloucestershire Business News

Sick children's charity debuts new website

WellChild, the national charity for seriously ill children, has launched a new website to offer more support to complex needs children and their families and to the health professionals who care for them.

The new website, now live at wellchild.org.uk offers a host of resources for families and comes as a result of a consultation asking users what they needed from the site.

Central to the site is a newly created WellChild Information Hub launching with over 40 articles. Topics covered include: The latest Covid-19 information, condition management, help navigating the health system, advice on wellbeing and tips from WellChild's Helping Hands team on home and garden improvements aimed at families caring for a child with serious and complex needs.

The information on the new website was developed in collaboration with a range of specialists, experienced parents, and health professionals, including WellChild Nurses. The resources will focus on the needs of families with complex need children specifically and designed to be easy to read or use. The information hub will be kept up to date and will grow over time, with articles added regularly.

The site also contains a wealth of useful information for health professionals with online resources developed by professionals, for professionals working with children and young people with complex needs.

The professional resources available have been created by WellChild and those the charity's extended professional networks across the Child Health sector. They include:

• WellChild funded research projects and information.

• Guidance for health professionals on specific areas such as parent carer training and complex discharge.

• Downloadable resources, templates and tools for use by clinicians.

• Parent-made resources including video diaries.

The impetus to design the new website came about during the Covid-19 crisis in 2020, when the need for specific guidance for families caring for a seriously ill child led to the publication of various COVID-19 family information pieces on the WellChild website, which were accessed by more than 50,000 times during the height of the pandemic.

WellChild then consulted more than 150 parents through surveys, interviews and focus groups to understand the ongoing need. The vast majority (95%) of survey respondents said they currently access some sort of information and guidance online. However, half those surveyed did not always find the information available to them helpful and it did not often address the unique needs and circumstances of families caring for medically complex children.

Matt James, director of communications and engagement at WellChild said: "We are excited to launch our new website and family information hub. Many families find it challenging having to navigate their way through a complex web of services and advice that is not always relevant or easily accessible. This was particularly acute during the height of COVID-19 when specific guidance for families caring for seriously ill children was sorely lacking. We hope that through the new WellChild website we can start to provide clarity and specific guidance on the burning questions for families and the professionals who care for them."

WellChild provides essential and practical support to ensure that the increasing number of seriously ill children and young people in the UK have the best chance to thrive - properly supported at home with their families.

The charity, which has The Duke of Sussex as its Patron, provides a national network of children's nurses, who work with families to ensure that children with complex care needs can leave hospital and return home and, through its Helping Hands scheme, WellChild enlists the support of volunteers to tackle practical projects in the homes of children with serious health needs. Through its family training and support services, the charity ensures parents and carers are properly supported and empowered to care for their children safely at home.

During the COVID-19 crisis, WellChild set up a crisis response service to source and distribute Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to shielding families so that they can let external carers back into their home. The charity has now distributed more than 289,000 items of PPE to vulnerable families across the country since the crisis began.

You can find out more about the incredible work WellChild do and donate to them on their website here or contact them on 01242 530007.

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