During this year’s Children’s Hospice Week we heard from Reagan, Mum of Jessie May child Alessi, about how she felt pushed to her limits over the last year.

Now, Jessie May nurse, Claire Matson, tells her side of the story – about how our team of specialist palliative nurses have been pushed to their own limits, and how you can ensure it doesn’t happen again.

Dear Reader, 

People often say to me that caring for seriously ill children must be the hardest job in the world.  

To me, it’s the best. What’s hard is knowing I can’t care for every child and family who need me.  

At the start of the pandemic, we all know that PPE was difficult to get hold of. It was in very short supply. But we couldn’t support a family without it. So, if a family were receiving some very difficult news about their child’s prognosis, we weren’t always able to be with them. If their child was coming to the end of their life, they were potentially having to do it without our support. It was so hard not being there for them; it went against everything we’re here for.  

There are absolutely no limits to what me and the whole team of specialist nurses at Jessie May will do to support the family of a seriously ill child, and yet the Coronavirus pandemic really stopped us in our tracks.  

As we know, PPE is now in much better supply. But for children like Alessi, who has only known us in the pandemic, she hasn’t even seen our faces properly.  They only have your voice, they can’t see what your face is doing underneath, and that voice is muffled by a mask.  

It’s been so tough and yet so rewarding working with Alessi and her family during this last year.  At the height of the pandemic, Mum and Dad weren’t even allowed to be together when visiting Alessi in hospital, after going through the worst experience in their lives. But because Jessie May Nurses were employees, medical professionals, we were allowed to be there to support Reagan.  For me, it felt like I was taking Mitch’s place, standing in his shoes or something. It’s wrong that I was there and he wasn’t. But both Mitch and Reagan are so grateful that we were there, that if he couldn’t be with Reagan at least somebody was. And I’m grateful for that too.  

Everything has changed since social restrictions were introduced. Now, when visiting a bereaved family or a family whose child is at end of life, having to sit so far away from them is so unnatural. To watch someone crying during one of the worst times of their life and not be able to reach out to them feels so wrong. We’re in a caring profession, and yet we have to watch from a distance while someone’s heart is breaking. It’s alien not to even be able to reach out and touch their arm or put an arm around their shoulder. It breaks our hearts.    

Talk about being pushed to your own limits! This is what it’s been like being a nurse, a proud Jessie May nurse, during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Please support Jessie May this Summer. And help make sure that we aren’t pushed to our limits so we can continue to help families like Alessi’s while they’re receiving the worst news they hoped they would never hear. 

Thank you for reading,  

Claire Matson 
Jessie May nurse

Pandemic or no pandemic, families of seriously ill children are pushed to their limits every day.  

We, at Jessie May, can’t be pushed to ours.  

Help us to continue to be there for families, just like Alessi’s, by making a donation today.