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RNSH launches NICU grandparent initiative

Royal North Shore Hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) in collaboration with RNSH volunteer departments and AWCH (Association for the Wellbeing of Children in Healthcare) have been working together to set up a grandparent program. The innovative program aims to enhance the hospital experience for children and families.

The AWCH Ward Grandparent Program was established in 1987. It has become a highly regarded service in all major NSW children’s hospitals, and a number of metropolitan and rural hospitals across NSW.

“Being in hospital can be stressful for children and their families. Families are often under significant pressure and can find it difficult to be with their child as much as they would like for a huge variety of reasons,” said Claire Blackburn, Nurse Manager, NICU.

“Hospital ward grandparents are highly valued by children, their parents and hospital staff. They make a real difference to the emotional side of healing by just ‘being there’ for the child and the family as a whole,” she said.

“Ward grandparents play a crucial role in offering companionship and assistance to children and their families. Their activities include feeding, playing, reading, and providing emotional support, contributing significantly to the overall well-being of young patients.” 

RNSH is working closely with AWCH to ensure the success of the program and emphasise inclusivity in volunteer recruitment. The initiative underscores RNSH’s commitment to holistic patient care and community support.

So far, the program has welcomed nine volunteers at Royal North Shore Hospital, with more encouraged. 

Interested individuals from all backgrounds are encouraged to apply via the AWCH website’s Grandparent program section: 

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