Remembering to smile with our eyes - Elli’s blog


Naomi House & Jacksplace have been busy during the Covid-19 Pandemic. We took in adult patients from local hospitals to support the NHS through the Coronavirus peak. We provided remote play, sibling support, counselling and social work services to hundreds of local families. And, of course, we provided end of life and post bereavement care to families at the most difficult of moments. All the while our fundraising effectively stopped.

Now, we have launched an appeal to ensure we build resilience for the future and make good on our core promise to families: To be there when they need us for as long as they need us, on the good days, difficult days and last days. But we need your help.

Hear from Nurse and Lead Practice Educator, Elli, on how our care team has been coping and how you can help...

Hello there,

I wanted to write a little bit about how our job as nurses has changed since the crisis began – and how we’re coping.

I think the first thing to say is that these are incredibly strange and challenging times for us all. None of us has been through anything like this, we’re all just trying to do the best we can – but it’s hard. I love my job, love being with the children and helping them and their parents have fun times, even when their lives are so delicate. That aspiration hasn’t changed, but the way we work now absolutely has.

We pride ourselves on being able to offer complex nursing care in a friendly, non-scary way, but now we’re having to wear PPE. For some children with respiratory conditions this means wearing a gown, mask and goggles. To a child we look very different so it’s important to be reassuring, cheerful, and remember to smile with our eyes!

We’re anxious about the future, as everyone is. But what keeps us going, keeps me looking forward to coming back into work every single day, is the knowledge that every child we care for is unique, and precious, and deserves the best – and we’re the only team near them who can provide the specialist care they need.

— Elli

We’re now planning the way forward. We’re working on allowing children to come back, gradually, so that we can give them the care they need and enable them to have some time away from home, to have fun in this incredible environment, and crucially give their parents a break.

We know this is going to be quite limited at first – some children will only be able to come in for a couple of days. So, we’re determined to make every minute they are with us a complete pleasure, to give them the chance to play and giggle and get messy and just enjoy being kids – while we take over their (often very complex) care needs.

We know the parents won’t be able to share these days as they normally would. So, we’ll take lots of photos and videos and post them online for families to see, or send them home with their child.

Because we know that, for some children, the days they have with us this summer will become the most precious memories for their families to keep in the future. That’s the responsibility we have every day, for every family.

— Elli

So, we’ll keep going. It’ll be challenging sometimes, but we’ll never stop trying to make every stay the best it can be for each and every child. If you can donate today, you’ll help to make those moments of fun happen this summer. And you’ll have the thanks of us all here at Naomi House and Jacksplace.

Thank you. With every best wish to you and your family from all of us. Keep well.

Elli Rushton, Nurse & Lead Practice Educator

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Hear directly from a Naomi House mum on her family's experience caring for a seriously ill child during the Covid-19 pandemic, and from our Director of Care about Naomi House & Jacksplace emerging from lockdown in our charity appeal blog series.