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Delivering services to children with disabilities during Covid-19
If you are in a position to give your support to St. Gabriel’s during Covid-19 we would be very grateful
St. Gabriel’s like many other services closed their building for appointments in Mid-March, all staff are now working from home, supporting our families in many different and innovative ways.
St Gabriel’s provides services to over 650 children with disabilities and to help our families cope through Covid-19 crisis each child has been assigned a key worker.
Each day we receive calls from parents who are overwhelmed by the very difficult and traumatic situations they are trying to cope with. Caring for children at home under the present circumstances can be difficult on any parent but caring for a child who requires 24/7 care with little or any support is almost unbearable to think of.
Therapists and nurses are phoning families to check in to see what issues are arising for them. Therapy staff are demonstrating and implementing therapy programmes and offering practical advice and reassurance to the families. When a parent can see the therapist face to face they feel more supported in this very difficult time.
Very practical issues that have arisen for our families may have a different member of our Multi Disciplinary Team respond, for instance our nursing team may help a family with a Peg feeding tube problem, a therapist can sort out a problem with a wheelchair, psychologists are talking through strategies to help a child cope with anxiety issues, and general assistance such as collecting and delivering prescriptions from the pharmacy and supplying families who have a child with ASD with a letter to show to Garda if in the event they are stopped. These families are allowed travel beyond the 2 kilometre restriction radius, it provides them with extra movement breaks which can be essential for them.
St. Gabriel’s therapy staff are supporting one such family through the use of technology. Their daughter is 12 years old, has developmental delay issues compounded by a congenital heart condition. During cardiac surgery she suffered a stroke. She was to attend the National Rehabilitation Centre in Dún Laoghaire but was unable to do so because of Covid-19. Our therapy staff set up a video link and are now providing her with regular occupational therapy, physiotherapy, and speech and language therapy sessions as part her rehab through live video. Later in the year her parents are hoping that they will be able to bring her to the UK to a specialist rehabilitation centre.
Clinical staff are keeping in touch and have regular zoom team meetings. They are putting up resource material online as new issues come to light for the families. Our clinical staff are doing everything possible to give families the maximum level of advice and interventions to support them in their own homes during this very difficult period.
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