An innovative service that aims to give terminally ill children essential equipment within 72 hours has been launched by the UK’s leading children’s disability charity, Newlife Foundation.
Currently, one in three disabled UK children are living without a piece of essential equipment at any given time, and terminally ill children are particularly at risk of dying before they get what they need. These children may have to access hospice care early, due to lack of home-use equipment.
Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children has created the Just Can’t Wait! service to combat the delays that hamper children getting the equipment they need, when they need it most. The Just Can’t Wait! service is specifically designed for children in the end stage of their life, who need equipment such as specialist beds, wheelchairs and hoists.
Newlife Nurse Manager, Karen Dobson RGN, says: “This service means a special bed costing around £6,000 can be released and, when no longer needed, will be collected quickly, professionally refurbished, clinically cleaned and made ready to benefit another child. This means one bed can help four to six children.
“Good for children, families and the environment, we hope that this service will help to support more children by front-line professionals being able to offer this free priority equipment loan.”
There is no cost to the family or statutory services and professionals involved in the child’s care can, with the support of an occupational therapist or physiotherapist to define the specification, apply for the service via telephone. There are no long forms to complete and the terms of the equipment loan are dealt with by Newlife direct with the family, so it’s easy for professionals to access.
The new service complements Newlife’s existing activities, which include a national Nurse Helpline for families and Equipment Grant Service which provides a whole range of equipment to help disabled children and young adults across the UK.
ACT is a UK-wide charity working to achieve the best possible quality of life and care for every child and young person who is not expected to reach adulthood. Chief Executive, Lizzie Chambers, says: “ACT welcomes this innovative and much needed new service from the Newlife Foundation. The supply of essential equipment within 72 hours will remove a huge burden from the shoulders of families caring for terminally ill children at a point when time is so precious to them.”