Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Social Media for Children in Hospital

Should children and young people have access to the internet and social media while they are in hospital?

Social support during hospitalisation has always been a critical factor for children and young people. The rights of children and young people in healthcare have been enshrined in polices and standards developed by AWCH and other like minded organisations over many years.

Reducing feelings of isolation from friends and family members, especially for older children and teens is an important consideration. For older children, contact with school friends and access to facilities they may have at home (e.g. the internet) can also help normalise the hospital experience. This is important to reduce the possible negative effects associated with childhood hospitalisation.

The new technologies can provide young patients with increased access to family, peers and entertainment and have been shown to enhance communication and social connection. With internet access, children can also keep up with their school work.

Recent surveys about technology and social media have found that:
It is clear that the internet is a huge part of young lives. Arguably young people who do not have such access may be disadvantaged. Strategies that enable equitable access to the internet for children and young people during hospitalisation have the potential to reduce isolation and interruption to education.

Should access to these important technologies, which enable social connectedness, as well as educational opportunities, be available to all children and young people while they are in hospital?

What do you think?

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Vale Barbara Holborow

Barbara Holborow, Former New South Wales children's magistrate, has died aged 81.

Barbara has been a champion for children’s rights for many years and recently had been awarded NSW Senior Australian of the Year 2012. This is an extract from the Australian of the Year website:

Barbara’s philosophy is that ‘every child is everybody’s responsibility.’ As a magistrate, she was instrumental in setting up free legal aid for children in NSW, a care court to deal with cases of neglect and a special jail for first-time offenders aged 18 to 25. She allowed television cameras into her court, believing that an open and transparent process would help reform the system.
Barbara Holborow, Irene Hancock, Sev Ozdowski
at AWCH 2002 Conference

Since her retirement from the bench in 1994 she has continued to defend the rights of children. Over the years, many foster children have come under her care and while working at a refuge she met a young Aboriginal boy named Jacob who she later adopted.

Barbara has written three books on her experiences with children and, at the age of 81, continues her fearless crusading, lobbying government and garnering media attention.

Barbara was an inspirational keynote speaker at AWCH 2002 conference Healthy Justice for Children.


Children's champion Barbara Holborow dies
Magistrate Barbara Holborow dies

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Wonderful AWCH Volunteers

Meet Peggy, Cathy, Maureen and Lesley – some of our wonderful AWCH volunteers.

AWCH has been blessed with the most gracious, hard working and happy bunch of office volunteers you could ever wish to meet.

Thank you Peggy, Maureen, Lesley and Cathy for your dedication and assistance to AWCH
It has been a very busy year with AWCH moving to another building on the Gladesville Hospital site. With laughter and generosity of spirit that is a delight to behold, some serious archiving took place in preparation for the move. Sifting their way through the reams and reams of duplicated paperwork, they reduced the amount of paper records that we have collected over the nearly 40 years of AWCH existence – a monumental task undertaken by these marvellous, patient and thorough women. They also embarked on the hard work involved in the move and settling in - the place now feels like home!

Our volunteers are an inspiration to all of us with their enthusiasm and can do spirit.

Here’s to you fabulous volunteers! We can’t thank you enough for your happy and unflappable approach to any and all tasks.

Celebrate with us during National Volunteer Week 2012

National Volunteer Week 2012

During this 2012 National Volunteer Week AWCH Thanks Our Fabulous Hospital Ward Grandparent Scheme Volunteers.

The AWCH Hospital Ward Grandparent Scheme began in 1987 at the Sydney Children’sHospital Network – Westmead.

The idea is based on the belief that the trauma of hospitalisation in a child may be lessened considerably by the presence of an adult with whom the child has a loving relationship. Because the parent sometimes cannot accompany a hospitalised child for varying reasons, such as distance, family and job obligations or parental illness, AWCH introduced the visiting ward grandparent scheme.

The grandparent volunteer fills a diverse role:
  • Supports the child and often the family in a time of crisis
  • Provides a means of communication between the child and the unfamiliar world of the hospital
  • Entertains an often bored and frustrated child
  • Provides stimulation at essential stages of development in a child who might otherwise become developmentally delayed due to institutionalisation
  • Relieves the workload of a frequently over extended ward staff
  • Gives the child individual attention and love that every child needs, especially when lying alone in a hospital bed
All in all our visiting ward grandparents do these and a lot more. Their ability to give themselves and be of immeasurable value to the sick child has surpassed our wildest expectations.

During this 2012 National Volunteer Week with the theme ‘Every One Counts’ AWCH pays tribute to the hundreds of ward grandparent volunteers who over the years have supported children and their families in hospitals across Australia.

Interested in volunteering?

Check out the AWCH Ward Grandparent Scheme video