Together for Short Lives has named Dr Helena Dunbar as the new Director of Service Development and Improvement. Helena will play a strategic role at Together for Short Lives, helping to ensure the growing number of children with life-limiting and life-threatening conditions and their families can access high quality palliative care regardless of where they live in the UK. Helena will join our team in March 2021.
An experienced children’s nurse with 30 years in practice, Helena is currently Associate Professor Teaching and Learning and Head of Division at De Monfort University’s Leicester School of Nursing and Midwifery, where she has led the design and delivery of teaching and learning in children’s nursing for the last eight years.
Helena is also widely published on issues relating to child health and children’s palliative care. Her PhD focused on Place Bonding in Children’s Hospices, working closely with Rainbows Hospice for Children and Young People in Loughborough. And earlier this year Helena was awarded a Winston Churchill Fellowship to explore palliative care provision, education and training in an international context.
“I’m absolutely delighted that Helena will be joining Together for Short Lives as our new Director of Service Development and Improvement,” says Chief Executive Andy Fletcher.
“Helen’s appointment will be key to helping meet our ambition of making sure every seriously ill child and family get the best care and support regardless of their postcode. She will lead programmes to support quality improvement, education and sharing good practice as well as overseeing our work to support families with information and advice they need.”
Helena joins at a critical time for children’s palliative care. The number of children and young people with life-limiting illness has almost doubled over the last 20 years, with many living with greater clinical complexity. Despite the many excellent people supporting children and families, the reality is that the care they receive relies heavily on where they live and much of the support is dependent on the generosity of public fundraising to support it.Andy Fletcher, CEO Together for Short Lives
“Helen’s appointment will be key to helping meet our ambition of making sure every seriously ill child and family get the best care and support regardless of their postcode. She will lead programmes to support quality improvement, education and sharing good practice as well as overseeing our work to support families with information and advice they need.” added Andy Fletcher.
“I am really excited for this opportunity to join Together for Short Lives” says Dr Helena Dunbar. “I want to see communities where children and young people with palliative care needs and their families are met with compassion, respect and the care they need from professionals who really understand their needs.”
“We have an important opportunity to influence the delivery of training and education programmes to ensure that health sector students are being taught the basics of communication and the foundations of children’s palliative care.”
My vision is one where children's palliative care is on everyone's agenda and to see that the fantastic Together for Short Lives’ pathways and resources are widely used across wards, GP surgeries, hospices, universities, ambulance services and beyond.”Dr Helena Dunbar