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Children’s Charity Launches Campaign To Provide Wellbeing Service at Brighton Hospital.

Rockinghorse Children’s Charity is fundraising to create a new Wellbeing Service to support thousands of children and families who currently access support through the Royal Alex.

This dedicated service, developed with the help of an expert steering group, will expand on many of the wellbeing projects that the charity has funded over the last few years, such as sea swimming courses, art therapy, music therapy and woodland wellbeing days.

However, it will now mean that they can be brought in-house, allowing them to be offered to a much wider group of children across more paediatric departments within the hospital. 

Wellbeing, the charity says, has an important role to play within the healthcare sector and 'actively impacts the health outcomes of children and young people'.

'If children feel brave enough to go to the appointment they are frightened to go to, fewer appointments are missed or delayed, and children and families have a less anxiety-provoking waiting time to undergo the treatment they need.'

The benefit for older children, the charity says, is giving them a place to talk about what’s going on for them, somewhere where they 'don’t feel like the different one, or the ill one, but just a normal kid dealing with a health condition they don’t want and never asked for'.

'Wellbeing projects within the children's hospital contribute to the holistic care of paediatric patients by addressing emotional, psychological, and social needs. By enhancing the overall quality of life for children and their families, these projects indirectly support medical treatments, improve resilience, and contribute to positive health outcomes.'

Dr Oli Rahman, Consultant Paediatrician and Chair of Trustees at Rockinghorse explained why supporting wellbeing is an important part of treatment. He said: 

“Imagine being a paediatric patient, especially if you have a long-term illness like Cystic Fibrosis, diabetes or asthma, it’s really daunting and can leave long lasting emotional scars. This is where the wellbeing projects step in; offering a glimmer of hope and comfort in the midst of adversity.” 

“These projects will provide a much-needed distraction from the challenges of the medical treatment. They offer joy, laughter and creativity, and children can momentarily forget their pain and fears. 

“They also help children to engage with their treatment, comply with their medication, improve their mental health, and support their overall holistic care.”

“This empowerment is invaluable and boosts their resilience in difficult times.”  

Far from being a nice addition to their treatment, these additional services provide 'crucial support at the darkest times'.

Hannah Peckham’s son Bodhi is five years old. Two years ago, he was diagnosed with Leukemia, and since then, he has been receiving treatment at the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital. 

During that time, Bodhi and Hannah have had first-hand experience of the impact that wellbeing services can have on children and families spending time in the hospital. 

They described how spending weeks at a time on the wards can make it really difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel. And it’s boring. But having toys to play with activities to enjoy, or things to take their minds off their situation makes all the difference.  

It means that they are able to cope with such an enormously difficult situation, be able to take their minds off the fear and pain and feel like a normal family. Hannah said: 

“You can't take the hand of a child frightened to attend an appointment or give back what they have missed out on. You can't take away the grief and loss of all that our little fighters and their families have had to go through. You can help to put a smile on a child's face even when they face the unknown which in turn helps them and the parent feel held and supported.”   

Donna Holland, CEO of Rockinghorse, added:

“We are so excited to be launching this ground-breaking new project. Wellbeing has a vital role to play in the care of so many children spending time in hospital. 

“It helps children learn about, understand and manage incredibly difficult and complex conditions. Having children who are better able to manage their treatment also saves waiting and treatment times, meaning NHS staff can treat more children more quickly and effectively.

 “It supports families to get through the biggest challenges of their lives. It saves the NHS time and money. And it saves lives.”  

To learn more or donate to this new campaign, visit the Rockinghorse website at www.rockinghorse.org.uk.

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