Feb 02, 2017
Children who need help breathing to stay alive are benefitting from a new ward at Evelina London. Snow Leopard provides six extra beds and has been part funded by £1 million of donations from our Evelina Children's Fund.
The ward, which had its official opening last week, is for children who rely on specialist equipment to help them breathe for months or years at a time. Most have a plastic tube (tracheostomy) that is inserted into their windpipe to create an artificial airway.
Snow Leopard helps to ease the move from hospital to home for children. The patients staying on the ward are medically stable and waiting for housing or care arrangements to be put into place to make it safe for them to be cared for at home.
Before Snow Leopard opened, these patients stayed on acute awards for very sick children at Evelina London. Snow Leopard's opening has reduced the risk of infection for ventilated children, providing more space, privacy and a playroom and therapy room. It has also meant that more beds are available on these wards, allowing more desperately-ill children to be treated.
Lucy Helling and Thomas Madden's nine-month old son Noah was born with fluid on the brain and chronic lung disease. He has been cared for at Evelina London since he was a month and a half, staying on an acute ward and later on Snow Leopard. Lucy, from Medway in Kent, explained that one of the nicest things is that it's "quiet so we can hear ourselves think. There is more personal space compared to the other ward Noah was on before so we can be a private family unit when we want to be. There's enough room to put a mat on the floor and play together, and the whole family can visit and not be in the way. At Snow Leopard there's a real feeling of home."
Marian Ridley, Director of Evelina London said it was "wonderful to see so many supporters, patients and staff at the launch event. Children who rely on ventilation can't go home until their needs are addressed, which means they can stay here for several months. We wanted to create Snow Leopard to make a home for these patients, where they can develop and have fun like any other child. We're so grateful to our supporters as without public donations this wouldn't have been possible."
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