Dorset HealthCare University NFT expands texting support service for parents and carers

Dorset HealthCare University NHS Foundation Trust has expanded their text service to provide quick advice for carers and parents.

Parents of children and young adults aged five to 19 can now access support through ParentLine, a confidential text messaging service run by Dorset HealthCare’s School Nursing team.

The service aims to provide guidance and advice around the child or young person’s health or development on a range of issues including sleep; behaviour; toileting; development; mental health; healthy eating; school refusal; exam stress; and bullying.

For the past year, ParentLine has been supporting parents and carers of children up to the age of five on topics such as breastfeeding; weaning; minor illness; and parenting.

Juliet Singleton, from the Trust’s Children and Young People’s Service, stated: “It’s fantastic news for parents and carers that we have expanded our ParentLine service to cover the 5-19 age group across the county. We want to encourage anyone who needs support to text us so we can help them and provide the right advice in an easy, accessible way.”

A member of the School Nursing team aims to respond to messages sent in working hours within one working day. If messages arrive outside of working hours, an automated message has been set up to signpost people on where to receive help if it is urgently needed.

Parents have praised the initiative, with one parent stating: “I feel texting is easier than a phone call as my eldest child normally interrupts phone calls and I find it hard to concentrate. With a text, I can write it and send it, then give attention to my child.”