COSMIC help fund a Family Support Service for families who have children on the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit. Having a child on the unit is one of the most stressful and traumatic times for a parent and our Family Liaison Nurses are on hand to provide practical and emotional support.
Our Family Liaison service supports our parents and families. Family Liaison nurses Helen Avila and Joanne Williams have been Sisters on the PICU unit for over 10 years and support parents and families to help them deal with their child’s illness, the discharge process and helping them access social care if their child has been left requiring specialist care, bereavement and generally ensuring they understand and feel supported every step of the way. Their roles are critical in making sure we provide the very best care to the family unit.
Sometimes families are brought into the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit quite suddenly and in the middle of the night. In many of these cases, families do not have time to pack any essentials before heading to the hospital. COSMIC provide comfort packs containing things like toothbrushes, toothpaste etc. to tide them over whilst their child is in a critical state.
Sadly the harsh reality of intensive care means that on some occasions some of the children on the unit do not survive. In these sad times we do everything we can to ensure we support the whole family and help them through this difficult time. In these cases, the Family Liaison team are the first point of contact for those families. The team are responsible for ensuring bereaved families receive optimum practical and emotional support at time of death and following the death of their baby or child.
Experiencing bereavement obviously affects all members of the family and when there is a sibling involved, it can be particularly difficult to deal with. This is why we provide books such as ‘Muddles, Puddles and Sunshine’, which helps answer questions that children may have after someone dies as well as helping with the coping process.
COSMIC also provide bereavement counselling by Caroline Weiland, who has worked with us for many years and offers support to families for as long as they need. Money from this fund is also used to buy specialist bereavement materials such as books and memory boxes for siblings and parents.