Barts and The London Children's Hospital >> Expert support
 
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Expert support

Beyond our world-class clinical care there are numerous support services that touch the lives of our patients and families.

From the play specialists who are professionally trained to help your child cope with medical procedures, to teachers and physiotherapists, our teams are here to support you and your child throughout your visit or stay to hospital.

Dietitians
Mental health specialists
Music therapist
Occupational therapists
Optometrists
Orthoptists
Pharmacists
Physiotherapists
Play specialists
Speech and language therapists
Teachers and learning support assistants
X-rays and scans


Dietitians

Child with apple

Tackling childhood obesity and complex feeding problems our team of 7 specialist paediatric dietitians offer comprehensive inpatient and outpatient services for all specialist areas.

We provide a number of innovative joint clinics with psychology, speech and language therapy, physiotherapy and specialist nurses to manage obesity , swallowing  and psychological problems with eating . The dietitians accept direct referrals to these clinics.

We also offer weekly, one-hour weight loss groups for 12-18 year-olds with dietary advice and exercise sessions with physiotherapists. 


Mental health specialists

Our paediatric liaison and self harm team cares for child and family mental health. A range of professionals are involved including psychiatry, social work, nursing and clinical psychology. The team deals with psychosis, depression or psychological issues related to short and long term physical illness.  


Music therapist

Music therapy

Our long-term patients benefit from music therapy. This is especially beneficial in aiding the rehabilitation of patients with severe mental and physical disabilities or emotional trauma.


Occupational therapists

Our occupational therapists provide treatment and advice to help improve a child's function. We provide splints, specialist pressure garments for burns patients and organise equipment to assist with a child’s personal care, whether they are on our wards or when preparing to go home. Our therapists play an important role in the rehabilitation of children who have suffered head injuries and work closely with other members of the paediatric acquired brain injury therapy team.


Optometrists

Optometrists assess each new patient to determine whether or not they require glasses to improve their vision. In children who have been prescribed glasses, they provide regular checks to ensure that the prescription remains up-to-date, hence the child has optimal vision. Optometrists also examine the structures inside and around the eye to ensure that they are healthy.

The optometrists work closely with the orthoptists and paediatric ophthalmologist to diagnose, treat and monitor paediatric eye conditions. Optometrists also assess and prescribe contact lenses in complex cases. In children with low vision and/or who have visual impairment the optometrists can assess and prescribe low vision aids such as magnifying glasses so that children can optimise their remaining vision.


Orthoptists

Orthoptists are experts in the assessment of children’s vision and of eye movements. Orthoptists can assess children of any age but have expertise in assessing young children (from birth to 5 years) and children with learning difficulties.

The orthoptists work closely with the optometrists and the paediatric ophthalmologist to assess, diagnose, treat and monitor paediatric eye conditions. The orthoptists are responsible for the treatment of children with amblyopia (lazy eye) and provide pre and post operative management of children with squints (turned eyes). The team includes an orthoptist with a specialist interest in managing children with Down’s syndrome and children with visual impairment, and an orthoptist with a special interest in retinoblastoma.


Pharmacists

Medicines are an important part of the overall treatment for your child. Our paediatric pharmacy team is dedicated to patients in the children's hospital, working closely alongside the doctors and nurses to ensure that all doses of medicines given are individually tailored to each child, whilst safe and effective. We visit all the wards on a daily basis and are available for advice to parents/ carers. Our team includes specialists for nutrition (especially the intravenous feeds), neonatology, oncology and high dependency.


Physiotherapists

Physiotherapy

Led by highly specialised senior physiotherapists, the department supports children who are staying in hospital for treatment or who are visiting for appointments. The treatment takes place in the most appropriate location for the patient, whether on the ward, in the physiotherapy gym or in clinic. There is an on-call service at nights and weekends for children with breathing problems.


Play specialists

Play specialist with young patient

An essential part of the children’s hospital team, our 16-strong team of play specialists uses toys, photographs, real medical materials - and, of course, play - to support patients and families. They also provide specialist types of play such as play preparation and distract children during painful procedures.

To read about a day in the life of our play specialists, click here.


Speech and language therapists

Our Speech and Language Therapists (SLT’s) provide expert assessment and management for infants and children with eating, feeding and/or swallowing difficulties. They are also part of our the paediatric acquired brain injury therapy team and provide specialist communication and eating and drinking input for children with acute, acquired brain injuries.

Speech and language therapy services are offered on both an inpatient and outpatient basis and we participate in many specialist areas working closely alongside the gastroenterology, neurology, neonatal, respiratory, ENT, orthopaedic, and general medical teams. 

Our outpatient services include the nationally recognised feeding clinic, the dietetic swallow clinic and our expert outpatient clinics for children with voice disorders and feeding difficulties. Additionally, we run a weekly videofluorscopy clinic for both inpatients and outpatients.


Teachers and learning support assistants

Hospital teacher with children in the school room

We have a four-classroom teaching unit within the Children’s Hospital. Each class has a fully qualified teacher and learning support assistant, offering a condensed version of the national curriculum.


X-rays and other scans

Our children’s x-ray department is the second largest in London dedicated solely to paediatric patients.  It provides a specialised paediatric ultrasound, fluoroscopy and general x-ray service as well as MRI and CT.