Adolescent patients KEPT IN MIND WITH new hospital design


The new Sydney Children's Hospital, Randwick (SCH) aims to improve age-appropriate spaces and programs for adolescent patients to ensure they feel at home while staying at our hospital.   

Seventeen-year-old Tara has been an SCH patient since birth and has undergone countless surgeries at the hospital. The teenager has a rare condition called Vacterl Syndrome, which causes congenital malformations to the spine, heart and oesophagus. In November 2022, she spent several weeks in C3 South - a ward that predominantly caters for adolescent patients. 

"There is more relatability between patients (in the adolescent area). I'm 17; if there's a 4-year-old, you can't really communicate with them about what you're both going through," Tara explained.  

"It's been great sharing, hearing, and it's good to have the interactions."  

The $658 million SCH Stage 1 (SCH1) and Minderoo Children's Comprehensive Cancer Centre (MCCCC) redevelopment will deliver an adolescent area, programs and features tailored to teenaged patients.  

The adolescent space will, for the first time, include single-patient bedrooms, ensuite bathrooms and study spaces. The area will also feature a recreation room, additional family meeting spaces and a family kitchen. The recreation room and therapy spaces are designed to be flexible, to allow patients to use these areas after hours and when not in use. 

Nurse Unit Manager Kara Munro said consultation with the adolescents, families and staff has enhanced the design and functionality of the spaces.

"I want our patients to be in a place that's a home away from home and know that they are getting safe care from people who have the skills and ability to provide the care they need," said Nurse Unit Manager Kara Munro.  

"When you think about paediatrics, people often think about babies and children, but there has been a consideration of the adolescent population. I want them to know that we've thought about them."  

The project team is working more broadly to ensure the hospital is welcoming to patients of all ages, including through interior design selections, recreation spaces, entertainment options and garden areas. 

Tara said, for her, memories of the hospital's garden, clown doctors and being able to play games with her brother gave her a sense of normality while away from home.  

"That's the stuff you want to remember, and I am really glad I remember that and not anything else."  

The adolescent space will be on level 7 of the SCH1/MCCCC, which is set to open to patients in 2025. 

Visit the project page to learn more about SCH1/MCCCC.

IMAGE: Seventeen-year-old Tara, a long-time SCH patient who has helped shape the new hospital adolescent spaces.