Meet the NHS staff supporting our children


Emma Lear, Welfare Advisor at the Royal Brompton Hospital, tells us about her work in the NHS and what it’s like to be a Response Fund partner.

What does your organisation do and who do you help?

We support hospitals and clinical centres with the process of planning to discharge patients with complex care needs from hospital to their home. We work to support medical staff and families who care for children and young people, who are enabled to breathe (ventilated) through tracheostomy and require NHS continuing care at home.

Tell us a little about your role as a Turn2us Response Fund partner?

As a Turn2us Response Fund partner, I work with families to identify their most urgent needs and work as an intermediary to support them with accessing crucial funds.

Do any recent grant recipients stand out?

Response Fund grants makes a huge impact to all the families we work with who have received their support. Many require rehousing due to their current properties being unsuitable for the needs of their child. These families have benefited from grants to buy furniture and white goods, in addition to funds towards flooring costs in their new homes.

Meeting these multiple costs would place a large burden on many families, who would otherwise have to apply to several charities for support, sometimes waiting weeks for decisions. Several parents said that without the support of the Response Fund, they would have had to take out loans for essential items, which would have had a considerable effect on household costs and debt.

Children with complex care needs, such as ventilation requirements, can be hospitalised for months before going home. The Response Fund has aided several of the families we work with to meet the ongoing costs of travelling to hospital each day to see their child. This is not only beneficial for the child and their family emotionally but also enables families to keep their clinical skills up to date, so that they are able to attend to their child’s care needs.

How important is it that charities work together nowadays?

It is important for charities to work together to meet the needs of those who access their services. Needs are best looked at as a whole rather than separately, as many are connected  or affect one another. For example, there is a recognised relationship between debt and mental health and being able to access services in the local community – transport, local events and having the money to be able to become involved in activities – has positive effects on physical health and emotional wellbeing.

In a hospital setting, we recognise that there are a wide range of support services we can’t provide. We value being able to refer to and link with charities who can support the patients and families we are working with to meet varying needs.

Why is it an exciting time to be working at your organisation? Tell us about some of the projects you are working on.

It’s always exciting to work as part of an innovative multi-disciplinary team – my colleagues are nurses, physiotherapists, an occupational therapist and consultant – working together and with other hospitals to help the person with the journey from hospital to home.

At present, we are considering offering additional welfare support at one hospital for other patient groups.

The way we support patients for discharge is a new model and we would like to expand it to include welfare support in hospitals for other patients with complicated needs. This might include people with old age and mental health conditions, who face challenges finding appropriate accommodation, care at home and require additional social support networks.

Find out more about the Response Fund.