The Duchess of Cambridge met with an Upper Beeding girl who was born prematurely while visiting St Thomas’ Hopsital, in London, last Tuesday.
Lauren Kedwell, whose daughter Amara Kedwell-Parsons was born 12 week premature, was at the hospital with her daughter as The Duchess came to celebrate the launch of a global campaign to empower and support nurses.
Mother-of-three Lauren, from Upper Beeding, said: “The Duchess was very personable and we felt like she really cared about Amara, there was a real sense of empathy. It was nice that she took the time to speak to all of our children and she said she was looking forward to hearing about when Amara goes home.”
Her Royal Highness met nurses and families on the Snow Leopard Ward, a long-term ventilation unit, at Evelina London Children’s Hospital, which is part of Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust.
The Duchess found out about nursing careers from the specialist nurse-led team on Snow Leopard, who help train carers and relatives how to use ventilation equipment safely to prepare them for when their child is home.
Lauren Kedwell and Amara’s father Jamie Parsons talked to The Duchess about the care their daughter has received on Snow Leopard since January.
The family is staying at Ronald McDonald House Evelina London, which was officially opened by The Duchess in February 2017 to provide accommodation and support for families of children at Evelina London.
Lauren added: “Ronald McDonald House enables us to be together as a family and gives balance to our lives because we don’t have to constantly travel back and forth from Brighton.”
Jamie said: “I wished The Duchess luck with her next baby and she told us that William was still in denial about having a third.”
During the visit, The Duchess learnt about the different roles and career opportunities available to nurses.
Janet Powell, director of nursing at Evelina London, said: “It was wonderful to introduce The Duchess of Cambridge to our fantastic nurses on Snow Leopard Ward, which provides a home from home environment for children and their families.
“Our nurses care for children on long-term ventilation who need the help of specialist equipment to help them breathe for months or years at a time.
“We explained to The Duchess that we are currently working on extending Snow Leopard, making space for two new beds for neuro-rehabilitation and three beds for sleep studies to treat even more young people, including those needing long-term ventilation.”
Speaking at the launch event at St Thomas’ Hospital, The Duchess, whose great-grandmother and grandmother were both volunteer nurses, said nurses ‘are awe inspiring’.
Nursing Now is run in collaboration with the International Council of Nurses and the World Health Organization. It will advocate for more nurses in leadership positions, helping nurses access better education and training, while supporting them to share research and evidence of effective practice.