The Wollongong Hospital Children’s Ward and Illawarra Hospital School have been transformed into a “magic kingdom” this week.
The inaugural Children’s Party Week is taking place from August 20-24.
Children’s Party Week is hosted by the Wollongong Hospital Children’s Ward and the Illawarra Hospital School, with an aim to enhance the hospital experience of young patients and their families.
Activities during the week have included visits by the Starlight Children’s Foundation, Life Education’s Healthy Harold, PAWS Pets Therapy and the St George Illawarra Dragons.
Illawarra Hospital School Principal Kim Bell said the children had enjoyed a wide variety of experiences.
Ms Bell said this week they had transformed the Children’s Ward into a “magic kingdom”, whereby people will be invited to dress up and be part of a range of fun-filled events.
Kathryn Jones is a volunteer for PAWS Pets Therapy, a not-for-profit organisation that trains volunteers and their dogs to provide specialised pet therapy to people with special needs.
Ms Jones took her dog Snoopy, a four-and-a-half-year-old Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen to visit the ward on Thursday.
Ms Jones has previously taken her canine companion to the likes of nursing homes, libraries and palliative care units, and said “all the places I take her are rewarding”.
“The children get to talk to and pat Snoopy,” she said.
“It’s about providing some comfort, some fun and bringing smiles to faces.”
Kids and Families co-director Dr Susie Piper said the week is an opportunity for children and their families to interact with staff in a fun and engaging way.
“A lot of things go on in hospital that may make children and their families feel anxious,” Dr Piper said.
“Party Week allows patients to see the hospital in a non-clinical way and engage with our staff to help create new and fun memories about being in the hospital.
“These young patients and their families are so resilient, and we are full of admiration of them.
“We hope to give them something back, and remind them they have the support of the whole community as they manage their illness.”
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