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The Care Team made it possible for Noon to enjoy the water
A child with such complex physical needs as Noon would not normally be able to enjoy water activities

Noon is 10 years old and is unable to breathe on her own. She has a tracheostomy and is reliant on a ventilator 24/7. Noon cannot verbally communicate as the tracheostomy bypasses her vocal cords. Her non-verbal communication, however, is phenomenal. As a rule, any child with such complex physical needs can’t take part in any water activities.

Noon’s respiratory system is compromised because of her condition and her tracheostomy doesn’t allow Noon a cough reflex, therefore, should she swallow any water she would be at high risk of developing a chest infection or pneumonia.

Helen Rogers, Acting Head of Care at Charlton Farm explains how, with meticulous planning, the care team were able to create a magical moment for Noon and her family.

“Noon is a child who goes to school with children who can go swimming and enjoy water play so we investigated a way she could experience this for herself. Noon’s mum also felt strongly that she should have the experience of being in water and because we have the hydrotherapy pool here, it’s something we knew we could work towards.

“Much planning went into getting Noon in the pool. Many discussions were had within the care team about our plans and the risks involved. The Director of Care, the then head of Care at Charlton Farm, occupational therapists, nurses and sibling team members were all involved in producing a thorough risk assessment.

“We planned a date and time to make this happen. All the various members of staff were required to make it safe, all of whom were fully briefed on the risk assessment. One member of staff was on the side of the pool looking after the ventilator, we needed the occupational therapist with her wealth of knowledge in the pool. It was important too for mum to be part of this experience and the sibling team were involved and focused on being with Noon’s sister who wanted to be part of this wonderful moment. We also needed an extra member of staff poolside with access to suction and emergency equipment should it be needed.

“Prior to the pool session we had researched and trialled several different buoyancy aids so Noon could be as independent and confident as possible in the water. She was very excited to get in the pool, but we had to explain the risks and talk through what was acceptable behaviour in the pool in order to keep her safe.

“Noon began by sitting on the side of the pool and could feel the water around her feet. She then stood up on the seat within the pool and she was able to explore the water independently. She started walked around the edge of the pool until she eventually got in using a buoyancy aid. She thoroughly enjoyed the sensation of the water, the feeling of weightlessness and was obviously delighted to be playing independently.”

After 30 minutes, her sister, along with a sibling worker, joined her in the pool. That was an incredibly special family moment for Noon, her mum and sister. Noon and her sister were so excited to be able to share that moment - an experience so many children take for granted.

Noon’s mum, Iman, says “It would be impossible for Noon, her sister and myself to enjoy this experience anywhere else. The staff at Charlton Farm have made it possible for this to happen despite Noon’s complex needs. They have enabled us to make some wonderful memories swimming with Noon, just as other children and families do but take for granted.”