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Outreach Nursing Service - A Godsend Says Mum

Meet Zac Barker and his mother, Siobhan. He’s a nine-year-old boy with cystic fibrosis who faced spending much of his life in hospital but not now.

The Outreach Nursing Service, which comes under the umbrella of the Canterbury District Health Board, provides a mobile nursing service for children with chronic illnesses including cancer, congenital heart, chronic renal, neurological and respiratory conditions.

“My son would spend a third of his time in hospital however the Outreach Nursing Service is a link between home and hospital and means that as a family we live a reasonably normal life,” says Siobhan Barker.

“Zac used to be scared of hospital but now his main nurse, Viv Isles administers many of his tests and monitors his condition at home. She is like part of our family.”

Siohban’s husband, Graeme lost his job with the collapse of Qantas and the family could no longer afford four trips a day from Kaiapoi to Christchurch when Zac needed his hospital treatment.

“So Viv stepped into the gap and provided much of the transport. I can’t begin to describe the difference she makes not only in Zac’s life but for us as a family.”

The Rotary Club of Christchurch’s annual charity ball on Saturday 13 October is aiming to raise $60 000 and the proceeds will go to the Rainbow Children’s Trust who will be donating the funds to the Outreach Service.

The money raised by the “Kids Should Have a Ball” will be used to purchase two Ford 5-door Hatchback cars for the Outreach Nursing Service. The cars will be equipped with handsfree cellphones, baby scales, digital stand on scales and auroscopes.

Already 540 of the available 700 tickets have gone.

“The ticket sales are going extremely well and it won’t be long before it is a sell-out,” says Ball Committee Chairman, Rotarian Ian Dunn.

“Social responsibility is part of the philosophy of the Rotary Club of Christchurch and whilst the adults get to have fun, it’s the children who are the real winners.”

Ends

Background

Children’s Outreach Nursing Service

Department of Paediatrics

Christchurch Hospital

Using a family centred approach to care, the Children’s Outreach Nursing Service provides a vital service for children with chronic illnesses.

The children and their families are referred by the Paediatric Service and are given ongoing education, support and care to manage their condition at home.

The service was established in 1992 in response to more children being discharged home with complex medical needs. Many children require close observation, treatments and medications and can be discharged home earlier with appropriate support. Benefits of home care include an improved quality of life for the child and a family life that is not unnecessarily disrupted for prolonged periods of time.

Hundreds of children have received care from the Children’s Outreach Nursing Service over the years. The service provides care to 200 children currently. The level of contact can vary from telephone support, to daily, weekly or monthly visits.

The service provides care for the children in the most appropriate location for the child and their family. In rural areas the service may be provided through local community services, but in such situations the Children’s Outreach Nursing Service continues to co-ordinate the care.

Three full-time Clinical Nurse Specialists and two part-time registered nurses, who are qualified and experienced in the care of children with a chronic illness, co-ordinate and provide the service.

The service aims to:

- Provide specialised paediatric nursing care

- Assessment, treatment and monitoring of progress

- Validating parents observations and assessment

- Assisting parents with problem solving

- Reduce the need for admissions and outpatient visits

- Reduce the length of time in hospital

- Provide continuity of care by networking with community professionals and the hospital based multi-disciplinary team

- Provide information and support to children and families, hospital staff and community groups and services

- Advocacy for children and their families

- Provide a palliative care service for dying children at home


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