I am a Family Support Worker based in Southampton office. I have been a Rainbow Trust Family Support since March 2022 and love how varied and rewarding my role is. It is great being able to make a difference to the lives of families who are struggling or in crisis. Sometimes the support to us can seem small but the impact on the families is massive.
I start my week visiting a family in hospital. The sick child has demyelinating neuropathy and sclerosis. #on Friday had surgery on her bladder as it was not draining into her stoma. I spent some time with the child and chatted whilst she played a game on her phone, giving Mum some time to collect some stuff from her vehicle and grab something to eat. I was in attendance when the Dr/Consultants did their rounds and was able to ask questions and advocate for the family.
Whilst leaving the hospital I bumped into another family I support, they were here for a check up appointment after having a feeding PEG fitted recently. We talked about how operation and recovery went and Mum spoke about some of the struggles she has been having. We agreed I would text over dates for next week and book in a visit to see where I could help/support.
I then drove to a school in Portsmouth where I deliver Drawing and Talking Therapy to a sibling who is struggling. Her sick brother who has been diagnosed with HNF4A (persistent low blood sugar levels) and spends a great deal of time in hospital with Mum due to his condition. The sibling has to spend a lot on time with her Grandparents. Drawing and Talking Therapy allows you to draw from the subconscious mind, talk from the conscious mind and marry the two up to help understand and deal with problems.
I travelled to Basingstoke to support a family who's daughter has been diagnosed with infantile epilepsy and is undergoing DNA testing to check for any genetic conditions due her developmental delay, delayed gastro emptying and impaired vision. On the way I stopped to buy envelopes and stamps to post free Circus and Paultons Park tickets to families we support.
We travelled in Mum’s car to Firvale Centre. Mum asked if I could sit in the back to watch over the child while travelling. Their epiliepsy nurse has started a drop in group on a Tuesday morning for parent to attend to receive support and meet other parents in similar situation. This is the first drop in and Mum felt a little anxious about attending alone and asked me to attend with her. Whilst there the staff asked about The Rainbow Trust, criteria and services we offer and said they will take to their team meeting as feel we could benefit a lot of families they support.
In the afternoon I attended my Non Managerial Supervision. This is an hour session with a trained counsellor funded by Rainbow Trust to make sure we feel supported in our role and have the opportunity to discuss our caseloads or any concerns we have.
From here I return home to complete my admin. There is a lot of admin involved with the role. I was able to completed my daily data, time sheet, write up my case notes from past 2 days and type the minutes from our team meeting on Friday. I then spend some time case load planning and contacting families on my caseload to see if there is any support/visit they want to book in. I currently hold a caseload of 21 families and my diary can book up very quickly.
I met a family at the hospital for an 8:15 hospital appointment. The sick child was having an EEG due to some ongoing neurological problems. Mum stayed at the hospital for the duration of the appointment and I look the younger sibling off in this pushchair to find a park.
Once I finished this I had a Teams call with a family from my phone in my car. The family live in Andover and I often help them with transport to Southampton hospital, attending appointments & taking notes and also visiting during hospital admissions. However, when they are at home I catch up fortnightly over teams to check in and see how they are doing and offer any emotional support they made need.
I then take a short break before heading over to a school to collect 2 siblings. Mum had messaged me saying during a journey over the weekend the children had seen a park they wanted to go to and could I take them there afterschool. We went to the park and the children had a great time playing. It was a really hot day and we decided to leave the park a little early and grab an ice cream on the way home.
Sibling support is one of the services we offer and is great not only to allow parents time with the sick child but also for the sibling to get out and have some fun and normality.
I travel to Winchester to visit a family. The twins were born through ivf and unfortunately one of them has short bowel syndrome. Shortly after birth she needed her large bowel removed and only has 40% of her short bowel remaining, therefore she has a stoma and is giving TPN overnight for 14 hours every night. When I arrived Mum was pleased to tell me she had received a letter from DLA awarding her the higher rate and backdating, I helped her fill in the forms to apply for this. Mum asked if I would be able to help her apply for a blue badge, I said I had my laptop in the car and we could complete online today. Once we had done this we also added the family to Priority Service Register with her utility suppliers, this will mean if there is power cut or burst water main in the area, they will be made a priority due to their daughters ill health.
I took a short break to grab some lunch before heading back to Southampton and meeting with a Mum and her sick child in Starbucks. The family are undergoing adaptations at home to meet the needs of their disabled child and Mum is finding it all a bit overwhelming, not only having major works done at home but the realisation of what this means long terms for the family and her daughter. Meeting Mum allowed her to speak about her emotions and how she was feeling about it all, whilst also getting her out of the house and distracting her whilst the work men were there.
I then headed home to complete some admin and the case notes for visits I had done over the past couple of days.
Every Friday morning we get together as a team at our office in Calmore. This gives us an opportunity to speak about our week and any highlights or challenges we have had. It is also time for the manager to pass on any relevant information and to discuss/plan our drop in groups etc.
After our team meeting we headed off to Honey Pot House to look around. It was great to be able to see the grounds and talk about the services they offer as we are able to explain to the parents exactly what is it like when making a referral on their behalf.
Once I had travelled home I had completed my hours for the week and it was time for my weekend to begin. I love spending time with my family over the weekend and catching up with friends.