Our care team has been recognised by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) for its commitment to carers during the Covid-19 pandemic.

This award recognises the team’s innovative and dynamic approach to providing responsive and crisis support, something carers described as a ‘lifeline’.

At the onset of the first and subsequent lockdowns, Haven House immediately worked to identify ways to support our families to navigate together this unprecedented time.

Our team quickly identified the challenges that families and carers faced when their child was nearing the end of their life and when hospital visiting was extremely limited due to the pandemic.

We worked to rapidly discharge children from hospital, even going out of area to support other teams with our clinical expertise to respond to emergency requests. This enabled whole families to be together during such an unimaginable time either in the hospice or at home with 24/7 support.

This support has been praised by fellow professionals who have highlighted the ‘extreme lengths’ our team went to fulfilling a family’s wish for their child to die at home, whilst still receiving the best possible care.

We know from our conversations with families that optimal care right to the very end of life makes the harrowing grieving process that follows, that little bit easier…..A high degree of communication and professional respect is required to work together so well and we commend you and all of your team for your part in this.”

(Child Death Overview Panel)

In the most challenging time in NHS history, the RCN Nursing Awards recognise excellence in nursing and healthcare. The 2021 awards acknowledge the outstanding efforts, commitment and achievements made by the whole of the nursing community.

Eileen White, Director of Care at Haven House, said she ‘couldn’t be more proud of the team for never stopping to provide essential support to families in crisis as well as the NHS.

She said: “This is so exciting. We feel privileged to have been shortlisted as a finalist in the RCN Nursing Awards recognising our Commitment to Carers. The philosophy of Haven House is to promote the best possible quality of life and care for every child with a life-limiting or life-threatening condition and their family.

“Even prior to the turbulence of the past year, we have understood the challenges that carers face in supporting seriously ill children, whether they be parents, siblings or extended family members. We are here to offer a lifeline to families.”

As many of our families shielded, our team delivered a package of virtual support including music therapy, counselling, therapeutic yoga, play and even physiotherapy.

For our bereaved families, we delivered a live virtual memory day service. Our weekly pharmacy clinic, regular coffee mornings and Dad’s group provided peer and professional support to our carers, to ease isolation and provide a continued sense of community. This helped ease some of the effects of the restriction of services caused by the pandemic.

Eileen added:

Staff have excelled in circumstances of profound pressure and we are proud to be shortlisted so that we can showcase the commitment and resilience of such an extraordinary team.”

The next stage will require the team to deliver a short presentation of their work to a panel of judges. The winners will be announced at a special event later this year.