Parents in south-west London are being offered training to care for their very ill children in a brand-new suite – the first of its kind in London – at St George’s Hospital in Tooting.

The suite is funded by WellChild, the national charity for seriously ill children. Parents will be able to learn vital lifesaving interventions, supported by a new specialist nurse, in the WellChild Better at Home training suite at St George’s Hospital where children’s services are rated outstanding by CQC.

Previously, training for parents and carers would often take place at a child’s hospital bedside prior to discharge. This training can be limited and does not always prepare families for emergency situations which might arise.

St George’s treats over 130,000 children every year, many of whom will benefit from this new training facility.

One child already benefitting from WellChild’s extended support is Dexter Adu. Dexter was born very premature at 23 weeks and has severe chronic lung disease, so he needs oxygen during the day and is on a ventilation machine at night. Dexter’s family were introduced to Charlie and the long-term ventilation team to discuss Dexter his treatment plan.

Dexter’s mum, Holly Charles, said:

“The training room was amazing; it’s set up like a child’s bedroom and allowed us to role-play and practice different scenarios so when we went home we were very well prepared.

“Having the privacy of the suite meant we could relax and really focus on learning the skills we needed.

“During this time Charlie, our WellChild Nurse, was there to help, taking the pressure off our family so we could focus on Dexter and our training.

“Even now we are home, she continues to support us and ensure Dexter stays well. I can’t put into words how much Charlie’s support has meant to us, she’s our superstar.”

When Dexter was ready to leave hospital, Charlie prepared the family for what life at home would be like by training them on how to use the equipment Dexter would need in the Better at Home suite before going home.

Charlie Perth, WellChild Long Term Ventilation & Better at Home Clinical Nurse Specialist, said:

“Being a WellChild nurse to me means listening, supporting and engaging families and children with long term ventilation needs. My role gives me the ability to help a child and their family transition from hospital to the community.”

The Better at Home training suite provides a ‘home-from-home’ space where nurses can teach parents clinical skills needed to treat their child in a safe environment, using simulation equipment.

WellChild’s aims are to improve parent and carer confidence in caring for their child at home, thus supporting early discharge from hospital and hopefully preventing hospital readmission.

Charlie added:
“It is an immense privilege to call myself a WellChild nurse, supporting families to navigate the challenge of having a child who requires long term ventilation.”

Richard Chavasse, Consultant Respiratory Paediatrician at St George’s said:

“The thought of having to look after your child on breathing support at home is daunting for any parent, particularly after a difficult hospital stay. The Better at Home training suite is an excellent addition to our children’s services to help us prepare parents for this journey.”

WellChild Chief Executive Colin Dyer said:

“Charlie has been a fantastic addition to the WellChild Nurse Network, it is great to be able to expand our services to children and families in London. Having a dedicated nurse to support families living with Long Term Ventilation is vital to ensure their child thrives at home.”

WellChild now has seven Better at Home training projects across the UK and this year will see the opening of another three. The Better at Home suites can also provide the opportunity to train extended family members to widen the support network for families.

Colin added:

“A huge thank you to Sir Jules Thorn Charitable Trust who are fully funding this project as part of a wonderful £350,000 investment in WellChild’s nationwide Better at Home Programme.”






For further information, please contact:

Chris Hill – WellChild
Tel: 01242 530007


Notes to Editors:


WellChild is the national charity for seriously ill children and their families. More than 100,000 children and young people are living across the UK with serious health needs. Through a nationwide network of children’s nurses working within the NHS, bedroom and garden transformation projects and family training, information and support services, WellChild exists to give this growing population of children and young people the best chance to thrive – properly supported at home instead of hospital, together with their families.

WellChild provides essential and practical support to ensure that the increasing number of seriously ill children and young people in the UK have the best chance to thrive – properly supported at home with their families.

The charity, which has The Duke of Sussex as its Patron, provides a national network of children’s nurses, who work with families to ensure that children with complex care needs can leave hospital and return home and, through its Helping Hands scheme, WellChild enlists the support of volunteers to tackle practical projects in the homes of children with serious health needs. Through its family training and support services, the charity ensures parents and carers are properly supported and empowered to care for their children safely at home.

During COVID-19, WellChild set up a crisis response service to source and distribute Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to shielding families so that they could let external carers back into their home. The charity has now distributed more than 270,000 items of PPE to vulnerable families across the country since the crisis began.

WellChild is wholly reliant on the support of individuals and organisations. The COVID-19 outbreak has seen the charity lose up to 60% of projected income as fundraising events and activities are cancelled or postponed. To make a donation, visit


St George’s University Hospital FT

St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is the largest healthcare provider, major teaching hospital and tertiary centre for south west London, Surrey and beyond – and one of the largest healthcare providers in the UK – serving a population of 3.5 million.

Its main site, St George’s Hospital – one of the country’s principal teaching hospitals – is shared with St George’s, University of London, which trains medical students and carries out advanced medical research.

St George’s is one of 11 adult and children major trauma centres in the UK, one of eight hyper acute stroke units and one of the biggest and busiest of the eight heart attack centres in London.

It is also an accredited centre of excellence for trauma, neurology, cardiology, cancer and blood pressure services and is the national centre for family HIV care and bone marrow transplantation for non-cancer diseases.

St George’s children’s services are rated outstanding by the CQC.

St George’s is the only hospital site in London where children with cancer can receive oncology surgery, PICU and neurosurgery as well as oncology care all on the same site with the other specialties that are required as well.

Of the 16 specialisms in paediatrics, St George’s offers all but three.

Every year St George’s treats over 130,000 children and deliver 5000 babies.