Royal Children’s Hospital ward grandparent Judith Christy with patient Yuli.
Royal Children’s call for grand volunteers
The Royal Children’s Hospital is calling on volunteers to join its ward grandparent program.
The program was established to allow patients to develop special relationships and secure attachments while undergoing treatment in hospital.
It is based on a key principle of the Royal Children’s Hospital to provide child and family-centred care and was developed in response to the needs of long-stay inpatients.
A ward grandparent is a specially-trained volunteer who spends quality time with a child to enhance the psychological health and wellbeing of patients who are unable to be fully supported by parents, often during long periods of hospitalisation.
The volunteer ward grandparents are ‘matched’ with one patient at a time. They visit the patient around three days per week and spend time playing and doing activities that are suitable for the child or baby.
Cheryl O’Hanlon has been a ward grandparent at the RCH for 18-months.
During that time she has been ‘matched’ with five patients.
With four grown-up children of her own, Cheryl has had plenty of practice caring for little ones.
She is nurturing and dedicated – her first match with a child lasted 11 months during which she built a positive and trusting relationship.
Vicky Lombardo became a ward grandparent at the RCH last year.
She has worked with two patients and has fitted into the role of ward grandparent with ease, enjoying the chance to build fun relationships with children and to assist in their learning and development.
Being a creative person, Vicky enjoys using arts and crafts and story-telling to engage children.
Catherine Rankin became a ward grandparent in February.
Catherine has been a childcare teaching assistant and has children of her own. She enjoys being able to provide support to families and children at the hospital.
• For more information on the ward grandparent program visit www.rch.org.au/wardgrandparent.