Breath On UK
Breathe On UK was set up in 2004 by Victoria Townsend in memory of her son William. The charity offers support and help to fellow parents and carers of children on long-term ventilation (LTV). As the NHS prepares to care for an increasing number of adults requiring ventilation due to coronavirus, beds on Paediatric Intensive Care Units are being converted to care for adults, while children with long term ventilation needs are being discharged into the community, where they need support, or transferred to other facilities.
Breathe On UK stands ready to support these families but is currently at risk of closure because of a drop in income caused by the pandemic and a lack of funding available to support voluntary efforts to respond to COVID-19. The charity estimates that just £6,000 would enable it to continue running for another three months. The charity provides a vital lifeline for parents of children on long term ventilation. The charity provides a range of services for parents of LTV children from specialised expert medical and legal advice, counselling, to practical support such as sourcing a new heating boiler. Breathe On UK is the only charity providing these services in one place in the UK. Breathe On UK founder Victoria Townsend says: “We have the skills, care and experience to support children being discharged from PICU’s across the country. On average Breathe On UK volunteers provide 40 hours of specialist care for each young person they work with. This equates to £2,000 that would otherwise need to be provided by health and social care services. But this isn’t about the money. We want to be there for families, and at this time they will need Breathe On UK’s help more than ever.” Consultant Respiratory Paediatrician, Dr Martin Samuels and Medical Advisor to Breathe On says: “More than ever, children and young people on long term ventilation need to be either discharged home or kept in their homes to ensure that there are enough beds for sick adults needing intensive care for COVID. Breathe On can advocate effectively for the families to help ensure that there are the services needed for them to keep them in the community safely.”