“This is the team who step in when you take a poorly child home – home where you want them to be.”
Twenty one years ago on Wednesday (October 5), this special team was launched and the countless people they have helped in their darkest hours has been immeasurable.
Julie Flaherty reserves a special place in her heart for this team.
Julie visited the Southern Trust’s Children’s Community Nursing Team on Wednesday for their very special 21st Birthday celebration.
“I was not there representing my political party. I was not there representing Council. I was there as a parent who needed the help and care of this team over a decade ago,” she said.
“I felt that familiar feeling of nervousness, anxiousness, and tearfulness as I walked through the doors as I knew I would see some faces I haven’t seen since that fateful day in 2013 when we lost Jake.”
Julie and her husband Wayne lost their baby Jake just two days after his second birthday.
She continued: “I need not have worried. I was welcomed with open arms, and hugs and yes, the odd tear was dropped as I remembered these same caring ladies coming into my home at my time of need.
“I do have a particularly close bond with the Community Children’s Nursing Team at Craigavon. Those who know, know. Those who don’t, need to appreciate.
“This is the team who step in when you take a poorly child home – home where you want them to be.
“Yes, they assist with NG tube changes when parents just can’t manage it or are learning.
“Yes, they assist with tracheostomy care and changes when parents just can’t manage, or are scared to death.
“Yes, they attend to medications and care plans and education, but yes, they put their arms around you when you are petrified of the future or crying for what is, or could have been.
“They give you time out to go take that much needed bath, or get a blow dry, or go get the groceries.
“They hold your hand; they love and care for your child.
“I may not be that parent who needs this help now, but I can understand the feelings of those parents that do, either for a short time or longer term. These nurses become friends and family.
“This is a service to be proud of, but of course it needs supported.
“If you are in the unfortunate position of caring for a sick child in hospital – this is the service you need.
“I wish all the staff many congratulations on 21 years of loving service to the community; I trust that they will be well supported, well resourced and well staffed.
“Five of the lovely girls who cared for and loved our son were there on Wednesday morning, it was so special to see them and remember how much they loved him and he loved them back – as we all did.
“Listen to the mustn’ts child. Listen to the don’ts. Listen to the shouldn’ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me – anything can happen, child, anything can be…”