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Meet our marvellous Roald Dahl nurse

Posted on Wednesday 18th October 2017
Roald Dahl Nurse Emily Bell

Roald Dahl Nurse Emily Bell.

Our new Roald Dahl specialist nurse provides additional support to children with epilepsy and their families, a great addition to the Evelina London team.

Evelina London has been exploring how closer working between organisations can improve care as part of a Vanguard Programme, a partnership between Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust and Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust.

One of the improvements identified by the Vanguard team was the need for more support for children and families living with neurological conditions like epilepsy. As a result, a new Consultant with a specialist interest in neurology (conditions affecting the brain, spinal cord and nervous system) has been recruited by Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust. Evelina London Children’s Hospital is now providing care locally within Dartford and Gravesham through joint neurology clinics. Run by Dr Margaret Kaminska from Evelina London and Dr Chinwe Ude from Dartford and Gravesham, the clinic saves families having to take their children out of school to travel to London and means they can get quicker access to the specialist services they need.

The team also found a missing link in support for families in Kent between hospital visits which could be improved by a nurse specialist. To solve this, Dartford and Gravesham reached out to Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity to fund a specialist nurse in epilepsy and neurology.  

Roald Dahl specialist children’s nurses provide support to children and their families, including information and practical care. The nurses are highly trained professionals who advise on a wide range of medical, emotional, and social challenges and coordinate services in the community and in schools.

In July 2017, we were delighted to welcome Emily Bell to the team. Emily is the first Roald Dahl nurse recruited in Kent and is providing much needed support to the county’s 300 families who are supporting a child living with epilepsy or other neurological conditions. Funding has been secured for two years from the charity after which Dartford and Gravesham will continue to fund the post for a minimum of a further three years.

Emily is now working to bridge the gap between hospital care and support in the local community. Children and young people referred to the neurology and epilepsy services at Dartford and Gravesham will be seen in clinics by Emily where she will provide education and information about their condition and make home and school visits. Emily also supports health professionals with how best to support young people. Being the link between staff members across the hospitals makes sure that families receive the best possible care and staff are supported with things like up to date training packages.

As part of the new team, Emily took part in the first ‘seizure clinic’ at the beginning of August 2017. The clinic is an opportunity for families to get faster access to specialist advice and appointments after being admitted from an Emergency Department (A&E) or a ward where a first seizure was suspected. The first clinic was a great success enabling patients to get access to the right services at the right time.