In the words of Doris Hart, first Secretary and National Organiser of AWCH – the moving force behind the Association’s initiatives from 1973 to 1983 – there was a dark underside to children’s hospitalisation….
‘In the newspapers and magazines of the 1960s/70s, information about children in hospital centred around hospital success stories; visits of royalty and film stars; Easter bunnies delivering a surfeit of Easter eggs; and Father Christmas and his helpers with an abundance of toys and good cheer. The stories conveyed images of hospitals working near miracles; of everyone caring about children in hospital and of the kindness shown by hospitals for their child patients.
The “cage” cot with a wire frame 1976
- that infants and young children needed their mothers in hospital and that need had to be met
- that parents and professionals must work together publicly if the above aim was to be achieved
I believed that we could do better by drawing upon Australia’s egalitarian ethos and creating a platform from which all could speak on behalf of the children, free of professional, personal or vested interests.
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
During this 2012 National Volunteer Week AWCH Thanks Our Fabulous Hospital Ward Grandparent Program Volunteers.
The AWCH Hospital Ward Grandparent Program began in 1987 at the Sydney Children’s Hospital 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 more information on the AWCH Ward Grandparent Program