Helping parents to help kids – public meeting
First published September 30, 2013
Parents of sick or injured children are being encouraged to be more involved in the way their kids are looked after when they have been admitted into health care.
The Association for the Wellbeing of Children in Health care (AWCH) for North Queensland is a joint initiative between James Cook University and The Townsville Hospital and Health Service.
The AWCH, which is holding a public meeting in Townsville this week, is a lobby group for parents and others who want the best care for their children when they come into hospital, or any part of a health service.
JCU Professor of Nursing Linda Shields said parents were usually involved when their child needed health care.
“When a child is admitted to hospital, the parents come too, because a child needs its parents when something traumatic is happening to them, or they are sick. So the care is given to the whole family, not just the sick child,” she said.
“Consequently, parents are very much a part of the way their kids are cared for in any health service.”
“Townsville Hospital and Health Service has some terrific facilities for the care of children, but if parents become involved, they can make sure standards remain high, and can contribute ideas for how things can be done better.”
Professor Shields said parents could initiate new ways of doing things.
“For example, the AWCH has a ‘ward grandparent’ scheme, where volunteer older people can come and visit and support children and families who may not have their own grandparents near.”
Professor Shields said the AWCH also supported facilities such as the hospital schools and play services, which make admissions to hospital better for sick children.
“Parents' and children's voices are really important to us in the hospital and also to the people who make decisions about how the health service is run,” she said.
“We are encouraging parents to partner with health care providers, Boards and Government in managing their children’s health to be advocates for good practice and positive change.
“Consumer engagement is an important part of the way forward for Queensland health services and parents will be asked to play a pivotal role in helping shape the design and delivery of those services.”
JCU supports this initiative through the School of Nursing, Midwifery and Nutrition’s Tropical Health Research Unit.
The meeting is free and everyone is welcome.
For more information, visit www.awch.org.au
Date: Wednesday, October 2
Time: 5.30pm – 6.30pm
Venue: Annandale Community Centre, Annandale Shopping Centre, 67-101 MacArthur Drive, Annandale
For interviews or photos, Professor Shields can be contacted on (07) 4433 2552 (TTH), (07) 4781 5331 (JCU), or mobile 0418 359 304.
JCU Media contact: Caroline Kaurila (07) 4781 4586 or 0437 028 175