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Support Services

patient at MRI in GOSH

At Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) our multidisciplinary teams work to support and care for your child and the family as a whole unit. All our patients will be seen by lots of different clinicians and teams to help ensure that they get the best possible care and support.

Find out more about our Allied Health Professionals (AHPs) as well as other clinicians and professionals who may support your child on the ward and at GOSH during your time with us.

Our physiotherapy and occupational therapy teams support lots of patients across our wards. If your consultant thinks that your child may benefit from the service, they will refer them directly to the relevant team. If you have any questions about physiotherapy or occupational therapy, please ask your consultant. 

Parents are encouraged to attend their child’s sessions as this will help with their progress.

Physiotherapy:

Physiotherapy aims to help treat children and young people with physical difficulties as well as providing support for families and carers.

There are two dedicated physiotherapists across Bumblebee and Butterfly Wards, who offer respiratory physiotherapy or physiotherapy to treat conditions which impact on physical development. This includes treating issues with airway clearance devices; and issues surrounding activity and ability to participate in play, learning and socialising.

When treating younger children, our physiotherapists focus on key positions which aid development, like rolling, sitting, standing and walking. While when treating older children, our physiotherapists focus on strengthening, balance and active participation.

The session may happen in your room or the playroom on the ward, in the physiotherapy gym, hydrotherapy pool or outsides in the park.

Occupational Therapy:

There are two dedicated occupation therapists who assess children’s development and rehabilitation. Such needs include attention, cognition, fine motor, play and daily life skills (like washing, dressing and toileting).

Our occupational therapists also assess children’s equipment needs, including positioning for seating / wheelchairs, pressure relieving cushions, bath seats, shower chairs, splinting, hoist and slings and sleep equipment. They also help in hand splinting, stretches, exercises and functional activities to treat and prevent contractures, and to improve strength and develop function use.

Our team of paediatric clinical psychologists are experienced with working with families from around the world; they are culturally-aware and have experience with patients from all faiths. They work closely with other members of child’s multi-disciplinary team to ensure each child and family’s needs are identified and supported.

All the clinical psychologists have doctoral level and specialised training in:

  • Child development and assessment of cognition, learning and memory and how these are affected by medical conditions and treatments
  • Assessment of children and families in distress and recommending appropriate interventions
  • Targeted and individualised therapeutic interventions for a broad range of presenting concerns
  • Working with the support systems around the child – e.g. medical teams, families and schools – to build resilience and enhance emotional well-being

The service is split into three areas:

  • Assessment: Assessing behaviour and emotions, developmental stage and learning difficulties, and how a child may be coping in a hospital stay
  • Treatment: both inpatients and outpatients, trouble sticking to treatment schedule, difficult decisions, impact of illness or disability
  • Consultation: Help and advice

This service is always available should you, a sibling or your child need it. For a referral, please talk to a doctor or nurse.

Role of the dietitian

 The Dietitians at GOSH work with medical teams to provide expert nutrition advice to infants and children. They help infants and children who have conditions where specialised feeds or diets are used as part of their treatment. 

Inpatients

Inpatients will be usually seen by specialist dietitians working in your child’s primary condition (e.g. respiratory patients will be seen by a specialist respiratory dietitian). 

If a dietitian is involved in your child’s care they will discuss your child’s growth and nutritional requirements.

The dietitians are available between the core hours of 9am-4pm Monday to Friday, with working hours varying between each clinical speciality.

Advocates/interpreters are available on the ward and can be present at reviews as needed.

The dietitian will liaise with the Special Feeds Unit (SFU) or Diet kitchen (DK) if special feeds or meals are required.

They also liaise with the catering department to ensure our menus provide a range of meal options for all children including Halal, Kosher, vegetarian and those with specific food allergies.

For children not requiring a special diet, meals and snacks can be ordered via the ward Hospitality Assistants.

Baby Milks

 A supply of sterile ready to feed (RTF) standard infant formula is available on the wards.

 If the feed you are using is not stocked a suitable alternative will be provided which is usually comparable.

If you wish to use a formula that is not stocked at GOSH a sterile RTF infant formula can be used.

For powdered infant formulas where there is not an alternative, you will need to provide an unopened tin that will be given to the Special Feed Unit, where the feed will be made by trained technicians.

Powdered feeds should not be prepared on the ward for infection control reasons.

Specialised milks or feeds

If your baby or child usually has a special formula milk or feed, the nursing staff will contact the dietitian who will review your child and arrange for these to be provided from the Special Feeds Unit (SFU).

Baby Foods

A range of suitable of fresh baby foods and bite and dissolve texture foods are available to be ordered by the main hospital kitchen. There are also commercial baby foods available on the ward including tins, packets or jars.  A range are stocked on the wards including Halal, and vegetarian options. Kosher baby food can be ordered on request by contacting the catering department prior to admission.

Special Diet

If your child has a specific allergy, suitable meals will be provided by the main hospital kitchen. You will be given access to these menus to allow food choice by the ward Hospitality Assistants.

If your child has multiple food allergies or requires a special therapeutic diet (for example minimal fat diet) this will be provided from the Diet Kitchen (DK).

The Hospitality Assistants, dietitian or dietetic assistant will discuss with you your child’s specific requirements, likes and dislikes. Religious and cultural needs will be met. 

Bringing in food

Drinks and snacks are available on all wards and there should be no need to bring additional food into the hospital.

The following snacks are available on the ward:  sandwiches, seasonal fruit pots, dessert pots, biscuits, juice, cake, coffee and tea.  These are available from the Hospitality Assistants on request.                     

If your child is having a Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT)

There is a special menu available on the ward for BMT patients. A copy of these menus can be requested by the Hospitality Assistant.

Discharge

If special feeds are required for discharge these will need to be funded by the appropriate source e.g. embassy, insurance company or family.  Please ensure that you discuss this with the dietetic team, as it may take up to a week before the feed is available.

Your dietitian will order the feeds or special formula milks and when ready they can be collected from the Special Feeds Unit before your child is discharged.

For further supplies, contact Caterpillar Outpatients or discuss with the dietitian when your child has an outpatient appointment (see below).

 If your child has a feeding tube the nurses will arrange and order the relevant feeding equipment, and undertake pump training with parents/carers on the ward.

Dietetic Outpatient Appointments

If required, a dietetic appointment can be made to see your child as an outpatient.

Speech and language therapists work with children who have difficulties with speech, or with eating, drinking and swallowing.

Your consultant will refer you for support if they think your child will benefit from the service. For more information please speak to your nurse or doctor. 

Our friendly and highly skilled Play Team provide specialised therapeutic play to help patients cope with their diagnosis, treatments and procedures. For instance, the team use distraction techniques to engage and distract children before and during blood tests, so that they have a more comfortable experience

The Play Team can be found in every ward and outpatient department, where there is also a play facility stocked with books, toys and games.

We provide a 24-hour telephone interpreting support service for all languages. We have an in-house Arabic interpreting team who provide an interpretation and translation service for our patient’s and their families. They are based on our private and international wards and will help you settle in.

Interpreting hours on our private and international wards:

8.00am - 8.00pm Monday-Friday

8.30am - 7.00pm Saturday 

8.30am - 6.30pm Sunday (and bank holidays)

Our multi-faith chaplaincy team offers round-the-clock spiritual, religious and pastoral care to staff, families and children of all faiths or none. The hospital has a Muslim chaplaincy service and can also arrange for local religious leaders to visit. As well as a 24 hour on-call service, chaplains visit wards and departments on request.

As well as St Christopher’s Chapel, we have a Muslim Prayer Room, Shabbat room and multi-faith room which are available for families to use daily. Services are held in the chapel each weekday, to which all are welcome.

Friday prayers for Muslim families and staff are led by our Arabic Patient Liaison Manager.

During Ramadan, additional space is provided for prayer and extra food provisions provided during the night.

Weekly prayers and services

Monday to Fridays at 10.30am – short prayers for the hospital in St Christopher's Chapel

Wednesdays at 12.30pm – Holy Communion in St Christopher's Chapel

Fridays at 1pm – Jumah Prayers in the Muslim Prayer Room

Weekly coffee morning

The chaplaincy team hosts a drop-in coffee morning for families and staff every Tuesday from 10.30am–12.30pm, with help from volunteers from The Mothers' Union. These are informal and welcoming events providing support and conversation outside the ward setting, aided by coffee and home-made cakes. Coffee mornings take place in the foyer of St Christopher's Chapel.

The chaplaincy team can be contacted on +44 (0)20 7813 8323.

St Christopher’s Chapel can be found on Level 2 of the Variety Club Building.

Muslim Prayer Room and Quiet Room can be found on Level 3 of the Southwood Building. The Muslim Prayer Room is segregated and Qurans are provided. 

Our Shabbat Room where our Jewish families can eat, pray and relax on the Sabbath is signposted from the main Chaplaincy noticeboard. Please contact us if you need details of how to access our Shabbat Room.

The Social Work Service is a key team within Clinical Support Services at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH).

The Social work services includes Senior Practitioners, Social Workers and Family Support Officers all of whom offer a direct service to children and families, both inpatients and outpatients. In addition, qualified social workers and senior practitioners offer advice and consultation to colleagues at GOSH on social and child protection matters and help deliver training on Safeguarding.

Our aim is to make things less stressful for you and your child while you are at GOSH. We can:

  • talk to you and your child if you are worried.
  • provide support, advice and guidance to help you cope with day-to-day issues.
  • speak to other hospital staff on your behalf.
  • talk to community services about arranging help at home for when your child leaves hospital.
  • support your other children if they are worried about their brother or sister who is ill.
  • support your child in coping with their illness.
  • talk to staff both at GOSH and in your local area so that everyone understands your child’s needs.

The Pals office is available for you to talk through any concerns or worries as well as ask for any advice. They are open from 10am-5pm Monday to Friday. You can contact Pals on extension 7862 or email them at pals@gosh.nhs.uk.

The Pals office is in the main reception area.

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