Our third annual Giving Day is right around the corner, and in 2023, The Common Good hopes to raise $100,000 to fund some of the immediate needs of The Prince Charles Hospital’s Children’s Emergency Department and Paediatrics Ward.
You may not realise it, but The Prince Charles Hospital is home to Queensland’s second busiest Paediatric Emergency Department.
There are thousands of children and their parents who seek help at this North Brisbane Hospital during their most vulnerable moments each year and are cared for by its compassionate staff.
Second Busiest Children’s Emergency Department in Queensland
“We’ve had a huge growth in presentations to the Children’s Emergency here at The Prince Charles Hospital. 10 years ago, we were seeing just over 20,000 presentations per year and over the last 12 months, we’ve now seen close to 37,000 presentations,” said The Prince Charles Hospital’s Clinical Director of the Children’s Emergency Department, Dr David Wood.
As the local community grows, the demand for the essential children’s services, including the hospital’s Children’s Emergency Department and the Paediatric Ward, is flourishing.
As such, we are calling on the community to rally together this October to help make a positive and significant impact for the children who are cared for here and for the staff who look after them.
“This is your community hospital. We want to make the experiences for the children of the community the best it can be,” said Dr Wood.
“We have lots of kids coming who are in pain, they’re anxious and their families are understandably anxious too. One of the things we are really trying to do here at The Prince Charles Hospital is try and reduce that anxiety and have supportive measures in place to make the experiences the best they can be for them while they are here. We are always striving to provide the highest quality of care for the community.”
There are additional pieces of equipment, sensory resources and a rejuvenation project earmarked, but ultimately, what we can fund will depend on how much we raise with thanks to our generous supporters.
Hopes For a Refreshed Kids Retreat Space on the Ward
One specific item on the wishlist is a refreshed children’s retreat space on the ward, where sick children and their siblings will be able to play, take their minds off being in the hospital and essentially just be kids.
“We want to give kids a place where they can feel safe, where they can feel engaged and where they can have a bit of fun during what can be a really tough time,” said Registered Nurse Rachael Patterson.
“Having a place to play means they can complete their gross motor skills and their fine motor skills. This is also about improving their cognitive, emotional, and social well-being, and we need to provide that holistic service to our patients. It’s not just about their medical well-being. It’s about their overall well-being and ensuring that they are succeeding in every part while they are here at The Prince Charles Hospital.”
The existing play space on the ward was closed during COVID-19 due to infection control reasons.
“We just don’t have the resources to make it a suitable place for the kids at the moment. We’d love to have different areas for our newborns, our toddlers, our school-aged kids, right up to our teenagers. We have such a wide variety of kids who visit the ward, and we would love to have a variety of resources to stimulate them all individually and provide them with enough variety that those kids who are here for those long periods of time are engaged every single day,” Rachael said.
Hopes for Sensory Resources for Emergency Department
Meenu, the hospital’s Child Life Therapist, hopes for some resources and equipment to support neurodivergent children visiting the hospital.
“Coming to the hospital is stressful for anyone and everyone. It poses an additional challenge for neurodiverse children. It’s the different smells, the environment itself and things that are unfamiliar which makes their time in hospital hard to manage with sensory overload. So, I’ve been thinking about what can support their healthcare journey and their time in the hospital. What if we can change the whole environment into a calming space? I would like a sensory trolley that can be taken into any patient room or cubicle and can be used in the procedure room as well. It can cover all sorts of senses, including a sense of smell, touch, vision, hearing, and sensory input can be increased or decreased depending on the child and if they are sensory seeking or sensory avoidant. It can help keep children calm and in turn, the procedures can be accomplished much faster so that they can get home quickly,” Meenu said.
Meenu says it is equally stressful for staff to perform a procedure on a child who is stressed out, kicking and screaming. While having sensory items, that offer different textures, colours and smells, is comforting for children, it takes the pressure off the staff too and supports them to perform the procedure with ease.
“Giving the children sensory input can calm their nerves and sometimes offer alternate focus as well. Consequently, they stay settled which helps staff perform the clinical procedures safely and effectively,” she said.
Dr David Wood agrees that sensory resources to help keep the children calm and understand procedures can have short and long-term benefits.
“It can reduce the number of people we need to do procedures; it can often also reduce the medication requirement, and that might mean we don’t need to keep them as long afterwards so they can go home sooner. And I guess, importantly, it reduces that procedure-induced anxiety or that procedure-induced trauma that kids can sometimes have when they do have to have a procedure. If we can minimise this then it means if they come back again in the future, we can see them, and it’s a much less anxiety or trauma inducing experience,” Dr Wood said.
Support Sick and Injured Kids this Giving Day 2023
This October, can you help us to help the sick and injured kids who visit This Prince Charles Hospital?
If you can fundraise, rest assured that every amount contributed makes a difference. It is only together that we can achieve the most significant outcomes.
Plus, if you donate on Giving Day on October 25, the amount you donate will be doubled, thanks to our generous corporate supporters and matched givers.
“I think all the extra support we have just allows us to provide a greater, improved experience for the families. It also helps the staff by giving them extra resources to treat patients. Ultimately, the goal is to be able to provide really great care for our families,” Dr Wood said.
Click here to learn more about our upcoming Giving Day and other ways to get involved.