Keech launches 24-hour advice line for Bedfordshire parents

Jenny and Jacob will benefit from the advice line, open seven days a week.
Jenny and Jacob will benefit from the advice line, open seven days a week.

Keech Hospice Care is launcing a free 24-hour phone line to support Bedfordshire families caring for children with terminal and life-limiting illnesses.

The revolutionary new service which launched on Monday will provide round-the-clock advice to parents are carers - not just those who already access Keech’s services - as well as professionals.

The helpline works by connecting families to the hospice in Luton where their call will be answered by a qualified nurse no matter what time of the day or night. Advice from a specialist nurse will also be available when needed.

Mother Jenny Alger, 40, of Shefford, said: “My son Jacob, who is three, has Dravet Syndrome, which means he can have a seizure at any time.

“Jacob can be fine one minute but he’ll become ill really quickly the next. We have grown more confident in learning how to deal with him but just being able to speak directly to the nurses’ station and get advice on what to do straight away is amazing.”

The advice line will also allow the charity to support families by signposting to other services who may be able to offer further help.

Sonya O’Leary, children’s lead nurse at Keech Hospice Care, said: “Access to specialist advice on palliative care over the phone 24/7 is not widely available in the UK, so we want to reach out to as many families as we can.

“We look at that child and family’s needs as a whole, take a holistic approach and try to reduce the need for them to go to hospital.”

The children’s advice line will be available to parents and carers of children with terminal and life-limiting conditions and professionals across Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Milton Keynes by calling 0800 035 6497.