Hospitals United for Sick Kids
Hospital Care

Hospitals United for Sick Kids

Being in hospital and away from the comfort and familiarity of home can be difficult for anyone.

For kids who may not understand why they are there and what may be involved in their care, it may even be a particularly scary experience and one that can shape their feelings and view of healthcare well into their adult lives.

The Prince Charles Hospital Foundation, through The Common Good, is proud to be a partner in an incredible alliance for sick kids called Hospitals United for Sick Kids (HUSK) (formerly Curing Homesickness) – the only national alliance of hospitals for children in Australia.

The alliance aims to fund projects, equipment and research that help get sick kids home, and back to the things they miss.

At Hospitals United For Sick Kids, we believe kids should lead the happiest, healthiest lives possible. Illness and injury can interrupt their childhoods, however, we aim to minimise the impact of these interruptions by funding life-changing projects and research to improve the lives and welfare of sick kids across Australia; helping them get home to the things they miss,” said Nicky Bowie, General Manager of Hospitals United for Sick Kids.

“Improving children’s welfare is at the heart of what we do every day.”

HUSK’s National Reach with Local Impact

Across Australia, the Hospitals United for Sick Kids has contributed $7 million to 71 projects in the past four years. There are eight alliance partners around the country.

“HUSK brings together a national alliance of children’s hospitals, foundations, and paediatric services, all working together to ensure that sick kids can return to the things they miss most – the comfort of home, family, friends, pets, and school,” said, Connie Carnabuci, Chair the board of Hospitals United for Sick Kids (HUSK).

“Our ‘National Reach with Local Impact’ approach ensures that funds raised nationally address local needs in each of the States and Territories where our hospital alliance partners operate.”

Impact of Hospitals United for Sick Kids in Queensland

We are proud to be the Queensland beneficiary of this initiative, and through The Common Good, funds raised in the state are used to support identified projects and equipment of need in Children’s Services at The Prince Charles Hospital, which has the second busiest paediatric emergency department in the state, and Caboolture Hospital.

Steve Francia, Chief Executive Officer of The Prince Charles Hospital Foundation said, “Since we partnered with Hospitals United for Sick Kids (formerly Curing Homesickness) in 2019, the needs of the hospitals we represent has increased, with visitations growing by over 20%.  As a result, we need more equipment in our hospitals to improve efficiency and health outcomes for the extra children we are seeing.”

“The impact of Hospitals United for Sick Kids on children’s lives has already been so profound. We are so grateful to be part of this opportunity year after year and to make a meaningful difference for sick children in Queensland.”

One amazing outcome of this alliance in Queensland is the Child Life Therapist at The Prince Charles Hospital.

Her role was initially a pilot program funded through The Common Good thanks to HUSK and its major partner Coles, and following its success, her role has now become permanent.

“The hospital environment is quite unfamiliar to children. When they come here, they don’t know what to expect or what’s going to happen, and so they have that fear of the unknown. Sometimes, if they’ve had a traumatic experience in the past, that raises their anxiety. If they are too anxious, their ability to process information goes away – so the first step is to reduce that stress and anxiety and then provide information appropriate for their developmental level,” said Meenu, the Child Life Therapist.

“So, if I have to prepare a 4-year-old for canulation or if I have to prepare a 13-year-old for canulation, how I approach it would be different. I talk about what they may see, feel, and hear, what’s going to be their job, and provide options that give them a sense of control. Then we get better cooperation from them during procedures.”

Virtual Reality Goggles for The Prince Charles Hospital and Caboolture Hospital

Thanks to this impactful initiative, we have also been able to purchase two virtual reality headsets for Caboolture Hospital and The Prince Charles Hospital.

These googles enable staff to work quickly and efficiently as they offer distraction and entertainment for the patients.

How funds are raised throughout the year

Through major partner Coles, a $2 donation card campaign is run in support of Hospitals United for Sick Kids for a fortnight in March/ April. All year round, however, fifty cents from each jar of a pasta and pizza sauce product called Mum’s Sause is also donated, enabling alliance partners to make year-round impacts.

Hospitals United for Sick Kids is also grateful to all its partners, which include Swisse, Lowes, Assembly Label and more.

Together, we can help get sick kids home, and back to the things they miss.

Published: December 15, 2023

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