As it was coming towards winter, Toby, my son, got a cold. He had all the classic tell tale signs – runny nose, bit of a cough, slight fever, and he was definitely a little more grumpy than usual. His cousins had had the same, so I was sure that they were the likely culprits, and there certainly was something going around – I’d seen lots of children at the GP practice where I work with similar things.
It was these two things – my experience as a mother and my day-to-day GP caseload – that started me wondering about whether there was a way to provide health information to parent and carers in a fun and interactive manner that might help them feel more able to care for their children, and know when they really need the support of a GP. A lot of minor illnesses in children can be cared for at home, but not all parents or carers are forearmed with the necessary knowledge to do this.
So, from this, a project came about. We have piloted a course for parents and carers explaining what a healthy child looks like, and then discussing lots of the minor illnesses children get and how to manage them safely. Within this, we discuss the important things not to miss, and where to access appropriate help. Our hope is that this will roll out to playgroups, schools and GP practices around Greater Manchester, and will empower parents and carers. So far the feedback has been good.
There is also a hope that we might be able to identify, and then facilitate, some people we are terming ‘community grannies’. These might be women or men, young or old, and are people who want to share their experience and knowledge of caring for children with others in their community. We want to facilitate them with up to date information and a network within which to discuss their experiences. This is definitely a work in progress, but we are excited about what it might bring.
Heather Dutton, Team member at SHF