THE Midlands’ only dedicated baby hospice has been awarded £20,000 from the WPH Charitable Trust to fund its on-site GP service.
Since opening its doors six years ago, Zoë’s Place Baby Hospice has provided care and support for more than 100 families with children aged up to five years old with life-limiting or life-threatening illnesses.
Most families come from Coventry and Warwickshire but the reach has extended to other areas, including Northamptonshire.
As part of the GP service the hospice is in daily contact with a GP Monday to Friday, with a visit to the hospice any time day or night, seven days a week, in cases of emergency – for example in cases of end of life care.
Michael McCann, fundraising manager at the Ash Green hospice, said: “This really is a very generous donation and we are extremely grateful to the trustees for their kindness and continued support of our work.
“The service allows our highly skilled nurses to work in conjunction with our GP to keep our babies from being admitted to hospital. The service is so important, not only for the babies and children, but also for the families who trust us with the care of their young children.”
“This donation will enable us to continue providing this valuable service and provide round the clock care every day for babies and infants from across the Midlands with complex medical conditions.”
Opening its doors in the summer of 2011, Zoë’s Place Baby Hospice costs between £1.3m and £1.4m a year – or £3,600 a day – to run.
The hospice employs 35 staff and can provide care for six babies and infants at any one time, including four youngsters in need of the hospice’s cot room facilities.
Over 85 per cent of the funds raised each year comes from the public.
David Holt, Chairman of the WPH Charitable Trust, said: “Zoë’s Place Baby Hospice is a vital facility for Coventry and Warwickshire, providing an invaluable lifeline to children with life-threatening or life-limiting illnesses.
“We are delighted to be able to support the hospice’s GP service which goes a long way to providing the right care for the children and added peace of mind for their families.”
Established in 1994, WPH Charitable Trust provides funding for individuals, groups and organisations to help prevent, relieve and cure sickness in Coventry and Warwickshire.
The Trust provides grants for medical research, buildings, equipment and other forms of medical care for residents of the region.
All applications are made via the Trust’s website and are assessed on a regular quarterly basis.
Interested applicants are recommended to see the charity’s website for further details. Log on to www.warwickshirehealthcharity.org.uk
Harry Charlesworth was just one day old when his parents Andy and Hayley realised there was something seriously wrong.
Shortly after his birth, in March 2015, Harry suffered his first seizure. And before he was a week old, doctors told the couple he had suffered extensive brain damage and was likely to suffer with cerebral palsy, visual and hearing impairments, troubles with speech, epilepsy, feeding
difficulties, learning disabilities and breathing problems.
When Harry was four months old, doctors formally diagnosed spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy. Since then, Harry has not successfully met any of his milestones, and continues to struggle with feeding and breathing.
Following a recommendation from a support worker, Harry started using Zoë’s Place Baby Hospice when he was 10 months old, by which time Hayley admits she was at her wits’ end and in need of some serious respite.
Hayley said: “We turned up tentatively with our special little man, but were we blown away. Zoë’s was far from what we expected – the staff were so friendly, the building light and airy, colourful and cheery and everyone seems happy. It was a far cry from the grey, clinical and depressing image I had conjured up in my head. It was like a nursery that was stimulating and fun, but with the added benefit of all the equipment and medical care that Harry would ever need.”
Hayley said the family had used Zoë’s GP service a number of times.
She said: “Sometimes we only use the GP service for small minor things, like treatment for conjunctivitis or antiseptic cream for his gastrostomy site. But it’s also been used where they may be the need for a second opinion on medication, or adjustments to Harry’s treatment. It’s great as they can deal with him straight away. Obviously we have a lot of appointments with Harry but when things do suddenly go wrong, it gives us one less thing to think about. It means not only is our respite not cut short with visiting the doctor and picking up a prescription, but it is peace of mind that he is treated on the spot.”
Hayley said the GP service at Zoë’s Place had also given herself, husband Andy and daughter Lily, aged four, added peace of mind. She said: “We went to Spain for a short break, but Harry wasn’t well enough to come with us. But we went knowing that while we were away, Harry was being well looked after by Zoë’s Place – and that had anything gone wrong, the GP service meant he was in the right place with the right people. It’s been really great for us.”