Work has begun this week on the first stage of Wollongong Hospital's Children's Ward redevelopment.
Expected to be complete within six months, the $2 million first stage will include an expansion of the ward - thanks to the realignment of the main corridor - and the creation of a new family room.
Dr Susie Piper, Kids and Families co-director for the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District, said there would be minimal disruption to the ward during construction.
"The new family room will have space for parents and carers to have a shower, wash their clothes or have a cup of tea," she said.
"It will be staffed by volunteers whose job it will be to look after those parents and carers who are there for their sick children."
The Illawarra Community Foundation donated $1 million towards the project, the NSW Government pitched in $250,000 and the remainder came from the proceeds of Run Wollongong and other donations.
The full redevelopment is expected to continue over five stages, with the timeline to depend on funding.
"The second stage will include a new playroom and the upgrade of staff work areas," Dr Piper said.
"Ultimately the aim is to have a modern facility that helps us provide the best quality care for kids in the Illawarra.
"That includes the inpatient areas, as well as ambulatory care and outpatient facilities - areas that allow kids to be cared for at home, with support from the hospital."