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MyCare – Spring 2023

Dougie in ward bed
08 March 2023

MyCare is Sheffield Children’s quarterly newsletter. You can either pick up a printed copy or read about some of the interesting stories and updates from the past few months below.

In the Spring 2023 issue you can read:

  • Hey Dougie!

    Dougie in ward bed with hat

    Eight-year-old Dougie was diagnosed with gastroparesis and global bowel dysmotility when he was just a year old.

    Gastroparesis is a long-term condition where the stomach cannot empty in the normal way. This means food passes through the stomach slower than usual and for Dougie, this resulted in chronic constipation and daily episodes of vomiting.

    Having global bowel dysmotility means Dougie’s intestines aren’t efficiently pushing food through his gastrointestinal tract – the very long tube that contains the stomach, large intestine, and small intestine.   

    In search of help with Dougie’s deteriorating health since his birth, his parents got in touch with Professor Mike Thomson, a Paediatric Gastroenterologist at Sheffield Children’s Hospital. The family travelled to the hospital from their home in Hull, where Prof. Thomson immediately diagnosed Dougie with gastroparesis. Prof. Thomson then arranged for him to have a feeding tube inserted within weeks.

    Kerry, Dougie’s mum, said: “Without a doubt, this saved not only Dougie’s life, but our mental states too. Not knowing what was wrong with our son made us feel helpless and extremely frustrated. Prof. Thomson listened and helped us understand the problem and immediately created a plan to fix it.”

    Due to his gastroparesis, Dougie has suffered from numerous bowel obstructions – where poo is unable to pass through the body and can cause tummy pain, nausea and vomiting. To remove the obstructions, Dougie has undergone surgeries.

    Recently his symptoms got worse, and Dougie had an anterior cecostomy (ACE) tube inserted into the top of his large intestine. This is a procedure where the bowel can be emptied by passing fluid through a surgically created tube or ‘tract’, from an opening on the outside of the tummy directly into the bowel. This means Dougie’s parents can flush water through the tube at home.

    Kerry said: “Since having the ACE tube inserted, Dougie’s quality of life has been amazing. He used to be in pain and feel sick all the time and he could only walk short distances. He’s now full of energy and we’ve been able to get out more and enjoy life!

    “We want to raise awareness of gastroparesis and the impact it has on both the child and the family. Dougie was also diagnosed with multiple allergies at three months old. Contact with allergens, and even people who’ve touched allergens, can have a big impact on his body as it causes his immune system to react and his stomach to quickly stop absorbing feed. Dougie is home schooled due to complications of his condition; however, his uniqueness and loving nature makes him the most incredible brave soul who just loves people and everyone at Sheffield Children’s.

    “Despite living in Hull and travelling to Sheffield for treatment, we wouldn’t want to go anywhere else. It’s warming, welcoming, professional, and we owe a lot to the hospital. I did The Children’s Hospital Charity Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge a couple of years ago to raise funds as a way to thank them for all of the incredible work done. And Dougie loves it – he loves the nurses and doctors and could never say a bad word about it.”

    Get in the game

    A therapist high fives a patient

    Inspired by England’s Lionesses successes in Sheffield last year, lots of children are getting into the beautiful game.

    Our developmental co-ordination disorders (DCD) team have been working hard to deliver fun and accessible football sessions for young people.

    DCD affects co-ordination, meaning that children with this condition often have difficulties with fine motor skills – such as hand movements – and gross motor skills, which include movements often used in ball games. The sessions also contribute to a larger aim to help children and families achieve important goals relating to functional motor tasks.

    The sessions are run by a group from our Ryegate Children’s Centre including Reece, Exercise and Physical Activity Therapist, who said: “It’s all about getting them confident enough to participate in a group scenario. The kids love it, they don’t want the sessions to end! Their confidence has risen so much throughout the sessions.”

    A parent at the session said: “When we first asked our son about joining the football session, he wasn’t all that keen on football. Now he absolutely loves it! He has met some good friends and the sessions have really helped him get out and keep fit.”

    Thank you to the Sheffield City Trust for donating the use of the sports hall at Hillsborough Leisure Centre for these sessions!

    Introducing PALS

    Sarah Fraser PALS Manager outside the hospital

    Our Patient Advice and Liaison Service – better known as PALS! – is here for when patients and families need advice, have concerns or don’t know where to turn.

    Meet Sarah Fraser, who manages the service. Sarah can offer confidential advice and support to families and can help sort out any concerns they may have about the care we provide. She can also guide them through the different services available from the NHS.

    Sarah said: “We are here to help and advise on any issue related to your Sheffield Children’s experience. We recognise that attending appointments or being in hospital can cause lots of difficulties and we are happy to listen and offer our support.”

    Sarah is supported by Julie Mather. You may recognise Julie as our PALS lead since 2016. Julie has recently semi-retired but continues to share her expertise with families needing advice.

    You can get in touch with PALS by emailing or calling 0114 271 7594.

    If you have positive feedback about the Trust we would be delighted to hear it and PALS can pass it on to the correct department for you. PALS can also attempt to resolve your problems and issues quickly.

    Our Families Matter

    Families matter

    A Families Matter offer card has been created for admitted patients, and these are now available on every ward.

    What does this mean? It means that every family staying with us on a ward is given one of these cards (right) which allows them to request items they may need during their visit.

    Families can select from a child or adult toothbrush, sanitary products, a towel to borrow, and a free parent or carer breakfast should they wish. Shampoo and shower gel is also available.

    This is one of the ways that we’re trying to ease the financial burden that hospital stays can cause. We might not be able to help with everything, but this is just one of the small things we now do which we hope will make a difference.

    We are also looking at how we can reduce the cost of food. A Meal of the Day option is available from our Parkside Restaurant between 12-6pm every day at a price of only £1.50. It’s available to both families and staff working at Sheffield Children’s.

    Families staying with us for more than four days are also able to claim 20% off hot meals in the Parkside Restaurant.

    Find out more about Our Families Matter offer by visiting the webpage.

    Autism support

    Family Support Services

    Did you know that you don’t need to wait for a full Autism diagnosis to start accessing support from Sheffield Children’s? Our workshop videos are available to everyone, at anytime. These will take you on a journey of what autism is, how to support your autistic child in specific areas including communication, toileting, eating, sleep and behaviour.

    Visit the Autism support webpage to see for yourself.

    Our new whiteboards

    A nurse uses the new whiteboards

    Digital whiteboards have replaced the traditional wipeable whiteboards you’ll know from our wards.

    You might have also seen that our nurses and doctors now carry tablets and phones to take their vital observations such as blood pressure, heart rate and temperature instead of paper charts.

    These changes mean that patient records are updated in real time, so our colleagues have access to the information they need faster. It also means that your patient information is even more secure than before!

    Going green

    animal inhaler bins

    We’re always looking for new ways to make Sheffield Children’s more environmentally friendly. Have you spotted the new animal inhaler recycling bins in our hospital Outpatients? If someone in your family finishes an inhaler why not pop it in the lion’s, tiger’s or panther’s mouth for recycling!

    Read more about how these bins won the Public Engagement Award at the 2022 Sustainability Partnership Awards.

    Let’s hear from you!

    Your feedback helps us to improve services and thank staff who have made your experience better. If you’ve recently visited or used services provided by Sheffield Children’s, let us know how it went on the Feedback webpage.

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