Mother of teen living with chronic pain shares relief at opening of 'amazing' rehabilitation service

  • Video report by ITV News Meridian's Charlotte Briere-Edney

The mother of a 15 year old girl from Banbury living with chronic pain, believes a new treatment centre in Oxford will help her daughter get her life back on track.

Daisy Darke's condition means she misses vital time in the classroom because she's often in severe pain.Staff at The Children's Rehabilitation Service will also help young patients with Long Covid, which affects around 100 children in the Oxford area.

It's down to a partnership between Helen & Douglas House and Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (OUH).

The service will help children and young people and their families to manage their chronic pain and long COVID symptoms so they can return to most, or even all, activities of daily living. 

  • Heather Darke shares her relief that Daisy will receive the care she needs

The team's approach to treatment, include helping children talk about their feelings, addressing mental health problems, helping with sleep problems, and assisting with exercise.

The Children's Rehabilitation Service is run by OUH and will offer an outpatient service, as well as accommodation for up to three inpatients, in a new, purpose-built location.

Heather Darke, Daisy's mother, said: "It's really unpleasant, obviously, to see her going from being a teenager who liked to go to gymnastics and go to trampolining to then not really want to get out of bed because it was just too painful."

Daisy is one of the first inpatients to stay onsite at Helen & Douglas House in Oxford while receiving treatment and critically her family can stay with her.

Heather added: "It's just taken all the stress off of getting to appointments. That couldn't be a better place for to be trying to rehabilitate somebody and to be just having this wonderful holistic treatment in such an amazing setting".

  • Clare Periton, Chief Executive of Helen & Douglas House explains how the environment is better suited for the treatment

The facilities at Helen & Douglas are purpose-built to care for young people, and includes accommodation for families to stay over with their children, and are situated within calm and tranquil gardens.

The service was previously based in the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre, but has now been relocated to a new purpose-built clinic on the ground floor of Douglas House, which was formerly the young adult's hospice, in Magdalen Road in Oxford.

The team based at this new location includes a Medical Consultant, Occupational Therapist, Physiotherapist, Clinical Psychologist, Teacher, and Therapy Assistant.  The services are wholly funded by the NHS.

Clare Periton, Chief Executive of Helen & Douglas House, said: "This is a very proud day for Helen & Douglas House, and we are delighted to welcome the Children's Rehabilitation Service to our building on Magdalen Road.

"We have worked closely with OUH for many years.  I think our supporters will be delighted to see the facility they helped build being used once again for its original purpose of caring for young people.  This incredible collaboration very much aligns with our ethos of holistic care and complimentary therapies to ensure children and young people can enjoy life to the full.  It also offers a fantastic opportunity for our two paediatric teams to work even closer together to share knowledge and experience to enhance children's health and wellbeing."

Dr Konrad Jacobs, lead for Children's Rehabilitation at OUH, said: "We are delighted to be based at Douglas House.  Our patients do not require acute medical care like in hospital, and benefit from a tranquil environment.  Additionally, Douglas House is perfect for rehabilitation in terms of its facilities.  The close co-operation between Helen & Douglas House and the Children's Rehabilitation team shows that, in some cases, the whole can be greater than the sum of its parts."