Caring for a child with complex health needs can be a daunting experience for most parents, but for Wendy Arnot being supported by Jigsaw, Cumbria’s Children’s Hospice has allowed her and her family not to feel alone.
Wendy’s son Blake was starved of oxygen at birth which caused his brain not to develop as expected. As a result, Blake has cerebral palsy and a range of other health issues and needs a lot of additional care to keep him safe and well.
Now aged nine, Blake has been cared for by the Jigsaw team since he was just six months old and the only children’s hospice in Cumbria has become very much part of his extended family.
Wendy says: “Jigsaw has been a lifeline for our family as we had limited family to help us care for Blake and his high level of needs after he was born. Having a baby with unexpected additional needs was very hard to deal with both emotionally and physically for all our family and not the joyous experience we thought we would have.
“Being forced into a world of medical appointments, professionals and their many opinions, Jigsaw helped us navigate this new world and supported all of us in way we are extremely grateful for.
“Jigsaw has given us the opportunity to not feel alone, make networks and friendships with other families in similar situations and the sibling days supported our eldest son to feel the same. It has been nice to enjoy the family days to meet new staff and other families which had been on hold during Covid.”
For Blake, his visits to Jigsaw mean he can access a wide variety of sensory experiences, use the range of assistive technology in the hospice’s ‘Smoothie Bar’, watch his favourite films and TV shows in the specially adapted cinema room and enjoy the new garden.
Knowing Blake is being cared for by specialist staff in a safe environment means that Wendy and her family can get a much-needed rest and spend time with their other children.
“It allows us to be able to visit places or do activities that are not wheelchair friendly,” Wendy continues.
“As parents who care for a child with significant additional needs we often get burned out and exhausted so to be able to have the opportunity to have some uninterrupted sleep is essential and Jigsaw allows us to do this as we know Blake is safe and well looked after.”