Date published: 21 October 2020 by Amber Hemming
William is a Rainbow Trust Family Support Worker in the North West and shares a typical week with us.
Every day I check my emails first thing in the morning and I send figures and information to Anne, our Director of Care, at the end of the day so we can monitor how the nature of our support and service is changing due to the pandemic.
First thing I checked if I had any messages from families over the weekend. Then I sorted my diary for the week and made sure all planning was done for virtual and one-to-one sessions with the families I’m supporting.
On Mondays we have our virtual team meeting which is an opportunity to stay connected with everyone. I contacted the families that needed me to check in to make sure they are well and discussed any additional support they may need. Depending on responses I arranged further calls and one-to-one sessions - either in person or virtually.
I travelled to Blackpool to support Esther (aged six). She has been having chemo every week for nearly two years. Next week is her last week. We walked down the promenade and went to explore bits of Blackpool that she has never been to before. I am giving emotional support to her on our sessions and also use the time with the family to support her brother, Zac (aged eight), and their mum and dad.
It has been great to pick up this support post lockdown – we can go back into the family and offer the tailored support they need.
After that I planned the dads and mums support groups that I facilitate. This week the dads have chosen to complete an escape rooms experience and the mums are playing bingo. These groups happen every fortnight.
Today, my focus was sending out activities for families and I also delivered some activity packs like arts and crafts and seed planting. Families loved getting the packs and I really like seeing the pictures of their plants growing. It helps us engage with families given we cannot see them all in person. Next, I checked in with the families that may attend the virtual sibling group tomorrow on Zoom and finally, at 7pm, I hosted the dads support group on Zoom.
I travelled to Manchester to support a family from Lancaster who are staying there for six weeks as their daughter, Louise (aged eight), is having Proton Beam Therapy.
The family had to relocate to Manchester for six weeks so Louise can attend the hospital every weekday to have this specialist therapy and appointments with the doctors. This is particularly difficult right now because of the ongoing issues with COVID-19 and local lockdowns. I arrived in Manchester at 8:30am to pick them up and take them from their apartment to The Christie Hospital – they were pleased to see a familiar face given that they are isolated from friends and family.
I then took Jamie (aged six), Louise’s brother, out for a few hours. It is hard for him because he has had to adapt to new surroundings, shielding and hospital visits. We went for a walk round a lovely park feeding geese and ducks. I then dropped Jamie back at the apartment and drove back home.
After that I helped with the sibling Zoom events we run every fortnight. There are around five children and they love to play games and enjoy talking to each other. We played games, told jokes, and finished by sharing a positive story.
I took part in the daily team quiz hosted by another team member. It is a bit of COVID-19 free time to start the day and helps the team to feel less isolated whilst they work from home.
I also attended a virtual monthly meeting with the local community nurses to catch up regarding families that we both support and how best to assist them.
I then checked with three families to continue the support I am giving and to ensure they are staying safe, coping, and that their ill child is doing OK.
The week above happened before further local lockdowns.
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