Children's Nursing

Short Breaks

Norfolk Community Health and Care have a team of dedicated registered and non-registered nurses who are able to offer short breaks to those families caring for children and young people with disabilities and complex health care needs.


Short breaks can provide families with a much-needed break from their caring responsibilities while supporting social opportunities for the child / young person. Short breaks can be offered in the home environment or at our residential unit, Squirrels in Aylsham. Squirrels is a 4 bedded unit which offers ground floor accommodation specially adapted to meet the needs of children and young people with disabilities.

Our staff team have all received specialist training to meet the specific needs of the children in their care both at home or in residential setting. Nurses work closely with the children and their families as well as associated professionals to ensure care is safe, effective and that the experience is a positive one. We use our skills to meet your child’s specific care needs and try to keep as close to your family routines as we can; children staying at Squirrels are expected to attend their school during term time.



At Squirrels, we cook all our own food and will ensure that your child’s specific dietary and nutritional needs are met during their stay. We will involve your child in all daily life and leisure experiences during their stay. At weekends and school holidays they are able to participate in a variety of activities e.g. trips out, use of sensory room, enclosed garden and play room. We have waking night staff and a qualified nurse on duty for each shift. A named nurse will work closely with you and other professionals involved in the care of your child in order to devise and maintain care plans that specifically meet your child’s needs.  We strive to provide a safe and comfortable place for your child to be whilst away from home and our primary aim is to safeguard and promote their welfare.

Children’s Short Breaks Home Nursing Team (CSBHNT)

The CSBHNT provide help and support to families caring for young people with complex health needs, delivering care in the home to allow parents and carers to take a well-deserved break.

Having a break does not mean that you are failing in some way or not coping, but we appreciate that caring for your loved ones can be challenging and exhausting at times.

Your child will be allocated either a nurse or a specialist health care assistant who will provide 3 hours or more care in your home per week, leaving you time to get on top of household chores, tend to other family members or simply put your feet up and have a cup of tea, knowing your child is in safe hands


Referral criteria apply and packages of support offered are dependent on a health needs assessment; each agreed package of care is regularly reviewed.

Eligibility Criteria

Short Break Services will provide inpatient healthcare or home-based care for:

“….children and young people with complex health needs; encompassing medical needs as the main criteria; with or without learning disabilities or physical disabilities.

The common criteria will be children and young people who are dependent on their parents or carer carrying out a clinical procedure which is essential, either as part of their routine of care or within an emergency situation”.

This definition is promoted by the National Council for Disabled Children (Including Me 2005).

The target population may include children requiring a combination of the following.

The list is not comprehensive or exclusive, merely illustrative.

 On-going intervention to maintain breathing

  • Complex Feeding Regime i.e. severe reflux / vomiting, frequent feeds, risk of aspiration
  • Complex stoma and catheter care
  • Frequent nursing interventions e.g. frequent suctioning / nebuliser / other medication
  • Seizures regularly requiring environmental and/or acute medical intervention
  • Unstable / degenerative condition

The service will provide for children whose assessment has identified the need for a short break

For more information please contact:


Children’s Short Breaks
Norwich Community Hospital
Bowthorpe Road
Norwich R2 3TU



01603 508 947