Chestnut Tree House named as a finalist in Nursing Times Awards

On 25 October, our care team will find out if they have won an award at the national Nursing Times Awards 2023, having been shortlisted as a finalist in the Children’s Services category for their work to support and promote the wellbeing of children and families.

The entry is based on the implementation of a lead engagement nurse to support and promote the wellbeing of children and families and to reduce social isolation post-pandemic. Explaining the idea behind the project, Anna Jones, Director of Children’s Services at Chestnut Tree House said: “Children with life-limiting conditions are living with significant clinical complexity requiring a high level of care. The Covid-19 pandemic impacted these children and their families more than most, especially during the periods of lockdown when they lost respite provision alongside school, and many parents and carers found themselves delivering 24/7 care with limited support.

“Various reports have highlighted the impact on the mental health and wellbeing of these children and families, and the landscape of paediatrics is looking very different to how it did a few years ago. We knew we needed to adopt a different approach and way of thinking to provide the best care and support to children and families in our local community.”

The engagement programme is child and family led and is constantly evolving to meet their needs. Events range from coffee mornings and toddler groups to a youth group, pampering mornings, and a dads’ walking group – all aimed at supporting children and families’ wellbeing but also to encourage the development of support networks.

“Attending this group really helps me connect with other mums who understand what I am going through.” Chestnut Tree House mum.

Working with families to establish their needs remains at the heart of this project, which aims to reach more children and families across East Sussex, West Sussex and South East Hampshire. “Recovery from the pandemic involved reconnecting with families and addressing the isolation that they told us they were feeling,” says Anna. “As well as working with families to find out what they wanted and needed, we introduced a lead engagement nurse to implement and lead a programme of engagement events and activities for children, young people and families.

“The journey of caring for a seriously ill child can be isolating – it can be hard to find friends who relate to your experiences and it’s often difficult to socialise for practical reasons. Our events and activities help children, parents, and carers meet others who understand, helping them to form their own support networks as well as providing a safe space to relax and take time for themselves. We’ve already had some really positive feedback and are continuing to develop different ways to support children and families to help reduce social isolation and improve wellbeing.”

The Nursing Times Awards shine a light on the brightest talent in the nursing community and recognise those making nursing innovative, patient-focused, and inclusive. They aim to highlight the incredible work across a wide range of nursing specialities, recognising individuals and teams who stand out as truly exceptional, going above and beyond what is expected of them in their day-to-day role.

As a finalist in the Awards, Anna Jones was accompanied by Karen Brailey, Lead Nurse at Chestnut Tree House, to present to a panel of judges on Monday 11 September. Winners will be announced at an awards ceremony in London on Wednesday 25 October.

Montage image of Anna, Karen and Jack