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Jessie May Nurses: Every Day Heroes

If you follow the World Snooker Tour you’ll be aware that Jessie May Children’s Hospice at Home has been our official charity since 2016.

But you might not appreciate the work which their team of dedicated Nurses carries out day after day throughout the South West of England. Even in the midst of a global pandemic, their devotion to looking after children and teenagers with life-limiting conditions is an essential service for many families.

Lois has been a Jessie May Nurse for three years

We asked Lois Cox, who has been on the team for three years in the North Bristol and South Gloucestershire area, to explain the day-to-day role of a Jessie May Nurse.

“A visit to a family will generally last three hours,” said Lois. “It will start with a handover from the parents so we can take full responsibility for the child’s care for the duration of the visit.

“The children we look after have a wide range of conditions. Some of them need complex nursing care. Some of them need to be given medicine – that’s where the nursing training is important. We don’t only offer nursing care, we care holistically and this can include playing, learning, getting out and about and of course cuddles and emotional support. The key is that the parents can leave us for a few hours, have some respite from the constant care which they give to the child, and have total confidence in us to manage that care.

“Every child is different, each one has his or her own character. So much of the job is learned together as we go along – we learn a lot from the parents and the other Nurses.

“A lot of our work is supporting parents in terms of advice and emotional support, either in person or over the phone. We provide end of life and bereavement support, and families in those situations are given priority. The bereavement support continues for five years after the child has died.

“The Nurses get to know the children and form bonds with them. There are sad times. But my job is also full of so much joy. Delivering child-centred care, specific to each individual child’s needs, enables us to make a difference for the whole family and helps the quality of life for the children. It is so rewarding just to be able to spend time with them. I often tell people I have the best job in the world!”

The coronavirus crisis has presented new challenges to Jessie May Nurses, not least the requirement to wear PPE when visiting families.

“Before each visit we need to prepare carefully and work out what is needed in terms of PPE,” said Lois. “The masks and clothing puts up a barrier between us and the children, but they get used to it quickly and they know our voices. The pandemic has meant that the number of visits we can do has been cut down, we can only visit families when it is essential.”

The charity’s income has also been severely affected as fund-raising activities and corporate support have been dramatically reduced. They rely on private funding now, more than ever. And YOU can help to support the incredible work that Lois and all of the Jessie May Nurses do every day to help children and their families.

Please text SNOOKER to 70490 to donate £5, or find out other ways you can donate by visiting www.jessiemay.org.uk or to read more about their Christmas Appeal click here.