IN A WA first, families of sick children needing emergency treatment at Perth Children’s Hospital (PCH) will have access to on-site accommodation to be closer to their loved ones.
Health Minister Roger Cook today unveiled the purpose-built facility that will open on June 10 to families and carers of children from rural and remote areas in an emergency situation.
Managed by Ronald McDonald House, the accommodation on level five includes 12 double-bed rooms with ensuite bathrooms, a communal lounge, kitchen and dining facilities, a shared laundry and a quiet room with two computer stations.
Parents and family members of extremely sick children who want to remain close to them but unable to sleep in the same room, will also have access to the accommodation, with two of the suites also equipped to assist patients as they transition from hospital to home.
Visiting the accommodation, 12-year-old Tamiya Lovell, who was flown down from Dampier two weeks ago by the Royal Flying Doctors Service for emergency cancer treatment, said the facility was “absolutely beautiful”.
“I’m a long way from home and when I got off the plane I was really sick,” she said.
“I have a brain tumour and will be down here for my treatment.
“I’ve loved seeing the rooms and the rest of the facility; it’s been planned really nicely.”
Mr Cook said the accommodation was a better way to provide for patients and their parents, offering an additional option to the existing 47-bed Ronald McDonald House used for planned visits.
“Ronald McDonald House have people staying for a longer term and often people coming for outpatient and ongoing treatment,” he said.
“This facility will be an area that parents will be utilising in vital moments, in early days of their child’s time at the hospital or as they’re transitioning out of hospital.
“No family wants to have to use this facility but if they do, it offers a home away from home to parents and carers in an already stressful situation – a friendly and functional space, purpose-built to accommodate them within the hospital.”
PCH nursing co-director medical division Sue Peter said every child was an individual and every family had different needs that this new facility catered for.
“In the in-patient rooms we have a parent bed where parents can stay by the bedside,” she said.
“Now we also have this new facility, which means we can house more than one parent and the parents can be close-by to where the children are.”