Three-month-old Alex Ellis is being discharged from hospital just in time for Christmas, thanks to provision of a specialist bed by locally-based national charity Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children.
Newlife is the UK’s largest charity provider of specialist equipment for children with disabilities and terminal illness.
Alex, who has a neurological condition and evolving Cerebral Palsy, will be joining his mum, dad and two sisters at the family home in Tettenhall, Wolverhampton.
Mum Kerry Elwell said: “The doctors have told us he can now definitely be discharged before Christmas – we are just waiting for everything to be signed off.”
The specialist bed has a high/low function and tilting mattress platform to help reduce the risk of choking; the high sides will keep him safe and the equipment can be used in conjunction with Alex’s nasal gastric feeding system. “The bed is brilliant,” said Kerry. “It arrived the day after Alex’s community nurse contacted Newlife on our behalf; she knew all about the charity and how is helps families like ours.”
The bed has been installed in the living room, so Alex can play a full part in the family’s Christmas celebrations.
Holly, who is four, and Scarlett, one, can’t wait for their baby brother to come home. Kerry said: “Holly in particular adores her little brother and is always asking ‘when will he be home?'”
She added: “It has been very difficult over the last few weeks, being at the hospital with Alex and looking after the girls at the same time; family life has been strained. Having the bed for Alex and getting him home will make us a lot happier. Now we are looking forward to a proper family Christmas.”
Because of Alex’s life-limiting condition, the family will be supported by a community nurse team who will provide overnight care four times a week. However, there was no funding available from statutory services for a specialist bed – costing £3,785 – so he could be discharged from hospital.
Newlife, which is based in Cannock and supports children with disabilities and terminal illness across the whole of the UK, provided the bed through its Emergency Equipment Loans service.
This operates alongside Equipment Grants and Play Therapy Pod Loan services. In total, Newlife has provided £1,170,792 of equipment for more than 1,080 children in the West Midlands alone.
For further details about Newlife’s work in the county, go to: www.newlifecharity.co.uk/westmidlands. The charity is currently working with a further 87 families in the West Midlands, with equipment needs in excess of £47,000. If you would like to help a local family like Alex’s, go to the website and click on the ‘Donate’ button. Alternatively, you could contact the Newlife County Liaison Team on 01543 431 444, email email@example.com.
Newlife guarantees that 100 per cent of monies donated in the West Midlands will be used to provide specialist equipment for children in the metropolitan area.
For full details of Newlife Foundation’s range of practical support for disabled and terminally ill children and their families, call the Newlife Nurse Helpline – 0800 902 0095 (free from UK landlines and mobiles) – or go to: https://newlifecharity.co.uk/
Pictured: Alex Ellis