Meet Diane

“The aim of our unit is to be the best version of itself so that our children and young adults are safe and feel at home while they have the best time.”

To mark the 21st Birthday of our Children and Young Adults (CYA) Service, we’re sharing Q&As with some of the staff and volunteers who provide our care to babies, children and young adults with life-limiting conditions, and their families. We start with Diane, a Sister who knows first-hand how the unit has grown and developed as she’s worked at our Children and Young Adults Service since it first opened its doors in 2003.

You joined the Children and Young Adults Service 21 years ago. What first attracted you to the service?

Having previously worked in a paediatric ward in a general hospital, I knew there was a need to provide a place where children with complex disabilities could go to have a break, which would allow families to have a break, too. At that time, parents had to take children to hospital for respite as there wasn’t anything locally to meet their needs.

What is your role at the hospice?

My role is to guide our team in steering quality care in our unit. This involves observing, monitoring, maintaining and altering practice, if necessary. The aim of our unit is to be the best version of itself so that our children and young adults are safe and feel at home while they have the best time.

How do you feel the CYA service has changed since you’ve been here?

As our children’s and young adults’ needs have changed over the last 21 years, so has our service. More complex medical interventions and improved medications are available now and so the team have developed new skills to ensure these interventions are delivered safely and effectively on the unit.

For example, the children and young adults who we care for spend more time in school than they did previously. Through special education, they acquire more skills to interact with their world. Various therapies in schools and in the community can also improve and maintain their physical, emotional and behavioural development.

The team at St Oswald’s Hospice are therefore developing bespoke specialisms in nursing and social care to ensure that we keep each young person’s individual regime the same here as it is at home and school.

What is your favourite thing about working in the CYA Service at St Oswald’s Hospice?

It is a privileged position to deliver personal care, manage health needs, have fun and connect with our children, young adults and their families. It’s also a privilege to be present when a young person comes to the end of their life. I want to make those final times as comforting as possible for all and capture some nicer memories in the darkest of times.

How would you describe the care we offer children and young adults?

Exemplary individualised child and family-centred care that is responsive to changing needs.

What makes St Oswald’s Hospice Children and Young Adult Service special?

We’re always pushing the limits so that our children and young adults can experience as much in life as is safely possible.

Anything else you’d like to share?

Happy 21st Birthday to us!

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