Islamic Council of Victoria support opens the door for hospital care at home

Hospital admissions can be traumatic experiences for children and their families. On top of the stress of having a sick child, families also have to deal with being split up and the disruption of daily routines.

Thanks to the Islamic Council of Victoria (ICV), $150,000 has been generously raised by the Muslim community to support The Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) Wallaby Ward so children can get home to their families sooner.

The Wallaby Ward is not your traditional hospital ward, and you won’t find it within the four walls of the hospital. Also known as the Hospital-in-the Home program, the service allows patients to receive hospital care in their own home, giving families much needed peace of mind. The program’s team of medical and allied health staff currently provide daily care to 51 children within a 40km radius of Melbourne.

“We pride ourselves in being one of Victoria’s leading hospital-in-the-home programs and strive to utilise new technologies and ideas to improve our delivery of care,” said Associate Professor Penelope Bryant, Medical Lead of the RCH Hospital-in-the-Home program. “Providing sick children and their families support in a familiar environment reduces the anxieties of hospitalisation and aids the patient recovery process, it is the future of paediatric healthcare.”

ICV president Mohamed Mohideen presented the significant donation cheque to RCH Foundation CEO Sue Hunt at the ICV’s annual dinner in November.

“The Wallaby program is one of the most exciting projects the ICV supports,” said Mohamed. “As Muslims we believe all children are a precious gift and it’s important we provide them with the most suitable care to heal mind, body, and soul.”

“We’ve always been great supporters of the work of the RCH. To be able to sponsor a whole ward is something we’re really thrilled to be able to do.”

The value of ICV’s donation is not lost on parents Jonathan and Nicole Ford. One month after being born, their son Chester exhibited heart murmurs and was referred to the RCH, where he was diagnosed with a ventricular septal defect (hole in the heart).

The Ford’s life was turned upside down with a one month stay in hospital while Chester underwent two open heart surgeries. The family was split up as Jonathan and Nicole rotated shifts at the hospital and their six year old son Oliver lived with relatives. Once Chester was in a stable condition, he was transferred to the Wallaby Ward and the Fords were able to bring him home. Chester received daily nursing care and treatment for two weeks, and now that he is in the post-acute care stage of his recovery, these visits are once a week and when symptoms arise.

 “Staying in the hospital for a month was emotionally and physically draining, it was a relief to be able to go home with Chester and now the family can be together under one roof. We are so grateful for the expert nursing care we’re able to receive at home,” said dad Jonathan.