bah2An innovative training resource for families of children and young people with long term and complex medical needs has been officially launched by Edge Hill University and the charity WellChild.

The first of its kind in the United Kingdom, the Better at Home training suite located in the University’s Faculty of Health and Social Care building provides a safe and supportive place for families to learn and practice skills for providing essential medical and nursing care to their children, in an environment which looks and feels like home.

Training will be given by highly skilled professionals in this new and interactive training resource, which offers a safe and supportive environment. Here families have the chance to gain the competency and confidence needed to deliver ongoing and often complex technology care in their own homes.

During the successful 24-month pilot phase, parents, grandparents and carers who used the ‘Better at Home’ suite received training from a dedicated nurse and reported that it empowered them to provide care themselves in their own home.

The suite was officially opened by Edge Hill University Chancellor, Professor Tanya Byron and Hayley Smallman from Aintree, a mother who has benefitted from using the suite.

Tanya Byron, Chancellor of Edge Hill University, said:

“Appropriate training is vital for families and carers to feel confident that they can safely care for their children at home. Without this children and young people can remain in or return to hospital unnecessarily, preventing hospital beds being used for others. We are proud that Edge Hill University is able to provide the first training facility of its kind to be housed within an educational rather than hospital setting.”

“It’s a great example of the way this University innovates to improve people’s lives.”

The project has already resulted in the development of online learning tools for parents once they are back home in areas such as tracheostomy care, gastrostomy care, oxygen, suction and care of the long-term ventilated (LTV) child.

Linda Partridge, Director of Programmes for WellChild, the national charity for seriously ill children, added:

“We believe that the growing population of children surviving with complex needs and requiring technology-assisted care should be cared for at home so that families can be together whenever possible. Their families and carers therefore need innovative models of care and training to bridge the current gaps. The ‘Better at Home’ training suite provides an excellent and much-needed example of good practice.”

Some photos from the launch event can be viewed here: