NEW, dedicated close observation areas for sick children are set to transform paediatric healthcare for families in Ballarat.
Design developments for a new adolescent and paediatrics ward are focused on ensuring Ballarat Health Services Base Hospital is keeping pace with what is expected in modern paediatrics across Australia.
A high-observation area for the sickest young patients will help prevent children from being moved to intensive care units with adults or in Melbourne and, when possible, stay closer to home.
Short stay will take children out of the emergency department where they have traditionally been monitored for conditions like asthma, gastro or head injuries. This will also allow for closer access to paediatricians.
BHS women and children’s health clinical director David Tinkell said greater space in the redeveloped ward allowed a chance to totally reconsider how care was delivered in Ballarat.
Dr Tinkell said the hospital was determining what services were needed most in the Grampians but greater space and flexibility meant the hospital could increase children’s services, like food challenges for allergy testing in the new short stay.
“These are all long overdue and expected in paediatric care now,” Dr Tinkell said. “We treat a lot of kids from across the Grampians and it’s also about providing the best spaces for those families who travel here, some from up to four hours away.”
BHS’ children’s ward $3.5 million redevelopment is half-funded via Run Ballarat. The event has raised more than $920,000 in the past five years and is set to hit our streets again in mid-October – right when redevelopment work is set to begin.
The hospital’s new Gardner-Pittard Building, off Drummond Street, has created extra ward space for BHS to reconfigure and expand the children’s ward. This will include modern age-appropriate play rooms for young patients.
To register for Run Ballarat on October 22, visit runaustralia.com.au.
Allergy testing relief high on agenda
FOOD challenges could be on the menu for expanding services in a new children’s ward.
Ballarat Health Services paediatrician David Tickell said reconfiguring the ward layout and staffing resources had allowed a chance to look at increasing some services at the Base Hospital that had been ad hoc for children or not available at all.
Dr Tickell said food challenges was a strong possibility, particularly for reintroducing children to some foods, due to a new short-stay facility on the ward.
He said this would be a massive benefit to families across Ballarat and western Victoria.
“Previously this has all been in Melbourne where there is a long waiting to get in, which can be a real incursion on families having to travel to Melbourne all the time,” Dr Tickell said.
The BHS women and children’s health clinical director said such a service was long overdue for the region and to bring Balarat in line with modern, expected standards in hospital paediatrics across the nation.