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The whole community

Treating far beyond our walls

The prevailing view is that hospitals are where care should be delivered. But what about the positive benefits treatment closer to home can have?

Max outside the beach hut looking curious
After 14 months of travelling back and forth to Cambridge, Max now gets the care he needs closer to home, leaving more time to enjoy the things he loves.

We’ll leverage the power of digital and telehealth technology to go beyond our walls, to support healthcare professionals from a distance and provide care where it’s needed most. Drawing on the faces and places young people already know — their schools and colleges, the family GP, the local community — to offer safer, smarter care closer to them. No matter where in the world they are.

Closer to the community. Closer to their front door. Closer to their own bed.

Baby Max in a restaurant with his parents

Care delivered home

Advances in telehealth technology are accelerating at a rapid rate. Video consultations and virtual monitoring are being seamlessly integrated into treatment plans.

Observational visits, previously requiring children to travel into a hospital, can be done remotely. And while we will have everything we need to care for the sickest children in the hospital when they need it most, our pioneering vision is one which draws on every development to treat children as close to home as possible.

This feels familiar

We will use technology to make difficult situations more bearable. To help young people feel comfortable even when they’re well outside their comfort zone. We’ll embrace advancements in technology, such as virtual reality, which can transform environments into familiar spaces, to put children at ease. And collaborate with innovators to develop more initiatives — like Senua’s Sacrifice, a video game which authentically portrays mental health conditions — to help young people feel seen and heard.

Find out more about technology we will use in the new hospital by visiting the Technology page in the Research section.

Research subversion image of Max

Working across the region

Cambridge Children’s Hospital will stretch throughout the east of England, working hand-in-hand with local partners, hospitals and retrieval services to ensure young people receive care in the best place for them.

We will call on the 17 acute neighbouring trusts and four community health trusts to help us achieve this, offering families support — from practical training for parents to sharing knowledge with schools — without ever venturing too far from their front doorsteps.

Find out more about our partners by visiting Our partnership page.

We’ll ensure that children are heard, everywhere

Max might have been born with speech difficulties, but with our support he’ll soon be able to tell you just how important the community is for his health.

Max walking into the sea

With any newborn, parents can usually expect the volume in their home to go up. But that wasn’t the case with Max. Just hours after he was born, he began struggling with his breathing and was quickly moved into a neo-natal intensive care unit. Here, doctors discovered he had a bilateral vocal cord palsy — a disruptive condition which paralyses the nerves to the voice box. Max needed a tracheostomy and, just a few weeks into his short life, underwent life-saving surgery. At the same time, his parents began intensive training to learn how to care for him by themselves. They stayed overnight in hospital, demonstrating they could make the necessary tube and tape changes. And when they felt confident enough, they took Max home, where he was finally able to sleep in his own bed.

Having a good support network has been so important in helping us through this, both through the teams that cared for us at the hospital and joining parent networks in our community.

Max’s mum, Katherine
Max standing in the water in sea
Max, being as noisy as possible playing on the beach

This wasn’t the last time Max was in hospital and, during the next year and a half he would make the frequent four-hour round trip for treatment and swallow tests. These quiet journeys took their toll on the whole family but, after 14 months, they finally saw the light at the end of the tunnel. Max had reconstructive surgery, successfully repairing a collapse in his airway with some of his rib cartilage and removing the tracheostomy. Hearing him cry in hospital without the aid of a speaking valve was an extraordinary moment. He could now breathe, swallow and communicate on his own. Today, Max spends less time in the car and more time receiving joined-up care in the right places for him. He undergoes speech and language therapy in his local town and does daily physio with his parents in the garden. But, sadly, that isn’t the case for everyone, and while Max’s story shows the positive role home can have, it also emphasises the need for all children to be closer to the care they need. Because, if we can connect with the whole community, we can give more young people the opportunity to enjoy their childhood. To spend the day at the beach, to play in the mud, to laugh with their families. The louder the better.

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