This week the Family Sleep Workshop, run by Solent NHS Trust’s Southampton Children’s Sleep Disorder serviceto help families with learning difficulties manage sleep problems, was awarded the prize for the best free paper presentation at the British Association of Community Child Health Annual Scientific Meeting. .
Sleep problems affect 50-80% of children with disabilities. Lack of sleep deprivation has an erosive impact on family life. Parents often suffer years of sleep deprivation before they seek help for their child. Dr Catherine Hill, Consultant Paediatrician in Child Health, said: “This is a prestigious recognition of a locally grown practice and we are really thrilled. The workshop we have developed draws from over 25 years of providing a sleep disorder service and has got a lot of hard work and experience behind it. Children’s sleep disorder services are underdeveloped in the UK despite a high prevalence of sleep problems so we are really proud that our work to change this has been recognised at a national meeting.”
The family workshops, developed by Sleep and Behaviour Advisor Evelyn Stewart, are designed to help families assess and manage children with sleep problems, particularly those with sleep difficulties that have a behavioural element and promote a parent empowerment model. Many families who have taken part in the workshops have had their sleep problems successfully resolved.
A foundation year doctor, Dr Carla Wesley, who undertook an evaluation of the new clinical service as part of her BMedSci thesis and presented her findings at the Birmingham meeting, found that: “Sleep workshops for parents of children with behavioural insomnia are equally effective as clinic delivered care and add value to families through peer support and education about sleep. Families valued the workshop approach.”
Southampton Sleep Service helps many such families and accepts referrals from professionals already working with the child. The team also offers training courses to educate professionals in how to manage sleep problems.
“Sleep seems to be a blind spot in the education of health professionals. We hope to equip professionals with the skills to manage sleep problems in their daily practice,” said Dr Hill. #ends
Notes to Editors:
Solent NHS Trust was created on 1 April 2011. We provide a range of community and specialist mental health services to over a million people in Southampton, Portsmouth and parts of Hampshire.
For more information please contact Elton Dzikiti, Public Relations Manager, Solent NHS Trust on 023 8060 8934 or email firstname.lastname@example.org