Community nursing: Helping vulnerable children through the pandemic

Video report by ITV News Meridian's Sally Simmonds

A family from Hampshire has been speaking to ITV Meridian about how community nurses have been helping them care for their son at home, as vulnerable children across the south are more reliant than ever on them during the pandemic.

Archie Adams is 7 years old, and is visited by community nurses Polly and Lucy.

It comes after he caught a virus at 18 months old, developing transverse myelitis (nerve damage to the spinal cord). He became paralysed from the neck down and breathes with a ventilator.

Without the nurses' support he'd have to travel to hospital every day. His family describe them as unsung heroes of the pandemic.

Archie's mum Karen says: "It is a godsend because it saves us having to go to the hospital on a daily basis. Where he's on a ventilator, children don't live at home very rarely, so we need the support of the community nurses so we can live a normal family life at home as best we can."

Archie with mum Karen Credit: ITV Meridian

When the coronavirus pandemic began, Children's Community Nursing Clinical Matron, Lucy Parker, knew the need to treat at home was greater than ever and her team adapted.

She says: "Lots of people with vulnerable health were shielding, so we felt it was important now more than ever to support them at home, so we extended our service from five days to seven days a week."

Lucy Parker, Children's Community Nursing Clinical Matron Credit: ITV Meridian

Putting on PPE kit takes more time, it's hot, and uncomfortable, but Lucy who's just won an award from the Queens Nursing Institute, is passionate about home care.

Lucy says: "Children thrive best in their home environment. It is such a privilege to be able to deliver care into people's homes."