Visit to Wagga’s New Paediatric Unit A Real Eye Opener

Staff from GV Health’s Paediatrics Unit recently took a road trip to the Wagga Wagga Rural Referral Hospital (WWRRH) to see the finishing product of its newly developed Paediatric and midwifery wards.

Paula Holland, Cathy Hall and Bronwyn Cole hit the highway for the three hour drive with Executive Director Infrastructure Sandy Chamberlin behind the wheel keen to show the trio how other hospitals have redesigned their own specific wards to suit their community’s needs.

After spending two hours on an extensive tour, conducted by Wagga’s Kelly Marchioni and a number of ward nurses, GV Health staff were able to get a sense of what will work well for Shepparton’s unit and look for innovative ideas.

“It was a big trip, but it was worth the visit to see not only what they’d done that worked well, but also to learn from their experiences,” Bronwyn said.

Wagga hospital’s re-development has some similarities to ours including the same architect, a similar sized emergency department re-development, similar demographics and some similarities in scope within theatre.

About Wagga Wagga Rural Referral Hospital

WWRRH is a 294-bed rural referral hospital with all major subspecialties excluding cardiothoracic and neurosurgery. It is the largest referral hospital in the Murrumbidgee Local health District and one of the busiest rural hospitals in NSW.

Representing the single largest NSW Government investment in regional health upgrades at $282.1 million, the Wagga Wagga redevelopment included a new seven-storey acute hospital building, associated external works and car parking, with a new 20 bed sub-acute Mental Health Unit currently being built.

The Emergency Department sees more than 40,000 patients per year with upwards of 17,000 admissions, with the hospital servicing more than 250,000 people.

Great Insight

All three women said that while the look and configuration of Wagga’s paediatric unit is not going to be the same as Shepparton’s finished product, it was a great insight into what can be expected.

“It was definitely helpful, particularly talking to the staff,” Paula said.

“And although for us it wasn’t a ‘Wow, this is what we’re going to get moment’, it was a very good learning experience to see what other places have done.

“You could look at a room and get a visual picture of the size of the rooms and think well I might change that to suit our needs,” she added.

Having worked at GV Health for the past 22 years, Paula is more than qualified to know exactly what the Paedetrics unit requires and alongside Bronwyn and Cathy they have been part of the re-development committee since it was first formed more than 12 months ago.

“The architects have been really good going through the plans with us. I couldn’t fault them at all,” Paula said.

“Even if there have been things we can’t have there have always been legitimate reasons as to why and they have explained them to us.

“They have even asked us things like what do you need to fit into your treatment room through to how many power points and oxygen outlets do you need?

“So we have been involved from the big floor plan right down to the complete fit out of the rooms,” she added.

Excitement For New Play Area

But there is one area the staff is most excited about and that is the indoor and outdoor play areas for the hospital’s junior patients.

GV Health Child Life Therapist Bronwyn Cole said that most people wouldn’t even realise that the hospital will have an outdoor play centre despite the unit being on an upper level.

“It was great to see how Wagga made the outdoor play area look less clinical and sterile and to see the support they were giving to families,” Brownyn said.

“And it is really good the redevelopers have had previous experience at other hospitals with children’s facilities which means they are taking things into account that relate to children and families.

Ward Clerk Cathy Hall, who has worked at GV Health for more than 20 years said although the six hour round trip was long, it gave them all a chance to discuss the changes and share their thoughts.

“Even just being in the car was a good environment to be able to chat about what we wanted and what we don’t want and how it moves forward,” Cathy said.

She added that having staff who work daily in a newly developed ward showing them around was invaluable.

“They were really open and honest and said what worked for them and what didn’t.

“The information will save us time and money and allow us to get it right,” she said.

While Cathy said she loved the ward with all its paintings, she is looking forward to having a “really nice play area for the kids” as well as having single rooms.

“It will be nice to have single rooms for all the parents so they are able to sleep properly and have their items safe and it will be great that every kid and their family has their own little space,” she added.

Paula said just seeing it all happen and having a new, fresh space will be exciting for the entire paediatrics team.

“It will be nice to have all fresh, new stuff and any equipment older than 10 years is not staying, so it’s nice to know that we are going to get all new state-of-the-art equipment.

“And I’m looking forward to having a really nice play room and outdoor play area for the kids.

“I think it’s the outdoor play area I’ve got the biggest expectations for,” she added.