Children’s therapy team offers whole family support

Physiotherapist Helen Dabbs has been leading a project that aims to improve therapy staff’s family support skills.


Children's therapy team at their clinical psychology training

She is team lead at the children’s therapy centre, part of Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust. The centre’s team includes paediatric physiotherapists, occupational therapists and support staff.

Following a nine-month pilot that ended in March, the centre has provided staff with bespoke training from clinical psychologists that helps them to understand strategies that support families.

A staff questionnaire showed that before receiving clinical psychology training, 86 per cent of staff said they did not feel equipped to signpost families to external psychological and emotional support services. After training they all said they felt able to offer such support.

Promoting family wellbeing

Ms Dabbs said centre staff see children and young people aged up to 19 with a range of physical needs in variety of settings. But team members felt they needed to meet the emotional and psychological needs of the families as well, Ms Dabbs said.

‘So we piloted a project to fill that gap and to incorporate the wellbeing needs of families into our service model.

‘Supporting the whole family is crucial because research shows that parents of children with complex needs often experience significantly reduced wellbeing and quality of life, and have increased levels of depression, anxiety and stress.’

The team has also created a web-based resource that allows staff to upload individualised therapy programmes, leaflets, educational films and useful website links for families.

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