Pa­tient back to open Star­ship’s re­vamped ward

Central Leader - - NEWS -

Sleep­ing on the floor is a thing of the past for par­ents at Star­ship Hos­pi­tal’s re­fur­bished wards.

The national chil­dren’s hos­pi­tal is wel­com­ing pa­tients back into the ren­o­vated neu­rol­ogy and med­i­cal spe­cial­i­ties wards.

The new level six fa­cil­i­ties boast ex­tra beds and space for fam­i­lies as well as a snazzy new look.

The eight-month, $6 mil­lion re­build will ben­e­fit more than 2200 pa­tients each year.

More than $5m was pro­vided by Star­ship Foun­da­tion donors.

Fam­i­lies of pa­tients say the changes are an im­prove­ment to the wards of old.

For­mer neu­rol­ogy pa­tient Jamie Trower, 19, at­tended the re­open­ing of the ward he re­ceived life-sav­ing treat­ment in a decade ago.

His skull, cracked from ear to ear in a ski­ing ac­ci­dent, had to be sta­pled back to­gether. He spent six weeks re­cov­er­ing in level six be­fore mov­ing on to longer re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion at the Wil­son Cen­tre in Taka­puna.

He had to re­learn to eat, speak and walk and at­tended school with the help of a teacher aide.

He’s come a long way – he’s study­ing English and drama at the Univer­sity of Auck­land and is in a loving re­la­tion­ship with his girl­friend Cyd­ney.

He’s even been ski­ing again with his grand­dad Colin who was there when the ac­ci­dent hap­pened.

‘‘He cried,’’ Jamie says.

‘‘I hadn’t for­got­ten how to ski, it wasn’t scary,’’ he says.

Jamie still has a tremor down his right side and has no mem­ory of his life pre-ac­ci­dent or ini­tial treat­ment.

His fam­ily re­calls sleep­ing on mat­tresses on the floor at his bed­side at Star­ship, and equip­ment be­ing stored in the cor­ri­dors due to a lack of space.

Colin Gray spent night af­ter night mas­sag­ing his grand­son’s spas­ming arms and singing Elvis Pres­ley to him as he lay in a coma.

‘‘I re­ally never left his side at night. My wife took over in the morn­ing and in the af­ter­noon his mum came in.

‘‘It was a 24/7 thing for the seven weeks he was in hos­pi­tal.’’

Most rooms didn’t have beds for fam­ily mem­bers to sleep on, with some even squash­ing into cor­ners un­der sinks to find space.

But all that has changed in level six. There are 37 sin­gle rooms, com­pared with the old 16. There are im­proved bath­room fa­cil­i­ties, more en­suites, ex­tra space for fam­i­lies and fold-down beds for par­ents.

De­mands for pro­vid­ing pae­di­atric health­care have changed over the 21 years since Star­ship was built, di­rec­tor of child health Dr Richard Aickin says.

As well as im­prov­ing fa­cil­i­ties for staff, the en­vi­ron­ment for par­ents to sup­port their chil­dren has been the fo­cus, he says.

‘‘It is an im­por­tant part of the treat­ment process.’’

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