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Karen who is a Nurse Consultant at Helen & Douglas House received The Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother’s Award for Outstanding Service by The Queen’s Nursing Institute on 25th June at their annual awards ceremony at The Royal Garden Hotel, Kensington, London. Karen was one of 5 nurses from across the UK given this prestigious award and over 300 community nurses from across the country attended this annual awards ceremony.

This award was given in recognition of an exceptional contribution made to the individual care of patients in the community, to the nursing profession through teaching and personal example and to the body of knowledge through dedicated practice and shared experience.

As well as being a Nurse Consultant in Children & Young People’s Palliative Care at Helen & Douglas House, Karen also teaches at Oxford Brookes and the John Radcliffe and advises on NICE guidelines. Not all children supported by Helen & Douglas House are cared for at the hospice for respite or end-of-life care. Karen supports approximately 50 local terminally ill children a year outside the hospice, at home or in hospital, taking the expertise of Helen & Douglas House out into the community.

Karen said “It felt amazing to receive this award and I wasn’t sure if I had won until I attended the awards ceremony. Because it the Queen Mother’s award, the Queen had to personally give permission for the awards to be given and she signs each award herself. I don’t do my job to get recognition but when you do it’s amazing.”

“The NHS is strictly controlled and resources are limited so many aspects of care are now considered extras which have had to be stopped but Helen & Douglas House knows that it’s these extras which could make all the difference to the lives of local families with terminally ill children. We make a real difference and provide something which isn’t provided anywhere else.”

Karen has provided nursing support to Tania Beale’s children at their home in Abingdon for seven and a half years ever since she started at Helen & Douglas House.

Tania said “Karen has provided outreach support to us for a number of years, and knows Amana extremely well now. By visiting at home, Karen has been able to see Amana as herself, in her familiar environment, not just how she is when she comes into Helen House for respite care.”

Amana began suffering from very severe pain in October last year. Karen was able to visit us at home on a number of occasions over autumn and into the New Year, and worked with us and the doctors at Helen & Douglas House in order to work out an effective pain management programme. Karen was also able to visit school and reassure them about Amana’s pain management protocol.

“When it became apparent that Amana’s pain was still not being sufficiently managed, Karen arranged for us all to come into Helen House for a few nights, to be assessed, and to begin a different kind of medication. On our return home, Karen was able to visit regularly, to check that it was working, to listen to my concerns, and to liaise with our GP, hospital consultants, and school to ensure we had a coherent joined up plan.”

“Knowing that we can call on Karen massively extends the support we receive from Helen & Douglas House – it means we get the whole experience in our own home, not just for the times we book in for a break.”