Sophie Williams has been working with Tŷ Hafan for almost 20 years. She has supported children with life-limiting conditions since Suzanne Goodall opened the doors to the hospice, and while she’s seen lots of these children come and go, she’s also witnessed young people live far beyond their life expectancy and well into adulthood.
Her role as a specialist transition nurse, a post funded by UK-wide charity, Together for Short Lives, only started in 2018 after it came to light that children in the ‘transition stage’ (14-18+) of their lives needed more specialist and focused care as they shifted from paediatric to adult palliative care services.
Despite only having been in this post a short period of time, Sophie has made huge improvements in the transition support we offer young adults and has already developed new initiatives to empower young people who are close to graduation age, as well as those who are in adulthood.
Through innovative methods, Sophie bridges the gap for young adults and their families and guides them through a new major step in their lives, ensuring that they’re prepared as a family for the changes around health, social, education, independence and even housing too.
Her incredible work has not only been recognised by Tŷ Hafan and the young adults she supports but also by RCN Wales after being awarded the RCN Wales Suzanne Goodall Paediatric Nursing Award earlier this week.
Here’s what RCN Wales had to say about Sophie:
"“Sophie has been exceptionally innovative in utilising coproduction and personal vision to maximise the opportunities for young people with palliative needs to embrace life to the full. This has enabled young people to reach their potential through accessing higher education and enhanced life experience through travel.
"“In her role as a Specialist Transition Nurse, Sophie has demonstrated great skill in communicating with young people with a wide range of physical and learning disabilities about difficult and distressing subjects, including advanced care planning, future treatment options, emerging sexuality and living independently from their parents. This service has been welcomed by both young people and their families.
"“Sophie recognised the role of social media to empower young people and their families in decision making and attainment of goals. Newly developed transition hubs provide a real-time space for engaging with others and providing help with practical interventions that support a structured transition into adulthood. Sophie is also available for one to one or group discussions around healthy relationships, driving, letting go or Court Appointed Deputyship. This has meant that she has had to increase her own learning across a wide range of topics - a challenge that she has fully embraced.”
Well done, Sophie — we’re very proud!