"Overnight stay policy for family"

About: Perth Children's Hospital

(as a parent/guardian),

I would like to recommend that PCH revisit their 'one parent only' overnight stay policy. There are situations where this is not the best option for families being treated and actually induces more stress in an already stressful situation when a child is admitted to hospital.

My husband and I arrived from out of town to be with our child for two nights at PCH. The first night we were both allowed to stay overnight without any issue and in fact supplied a breastfeeding chair as a second bed (we were happy to top and tail it on the spare bed in our child's room). The second night we were told at 6pm only one of us could stay. We are not originally from WA so we don't have family in Perth, and it was suggested we find a place to stay. My husband ended up booking a $200/night hotel room recommended by a nurse. That night he stayed with us in our child's room until 9.30pm and was back with us at 7.30am the following day. All the while, the breastfeeding chair remained in our room the second night too. So there was a place for both of us to sleep, yet he was told he had to leave us.

The explanation given for only 'one parent' was the number of people on the ward. I do respect this policy from a safety position, however, there were clearly empty rooms on the ward that night.

The nurses sympathised with our situation and were lovely in trying to get an exemption, etc., as they also agreed the 'one parent' policy doesn't fit every situation. Just a suggestion for PCH to revisit this policy and allow for certain exemptions to occur for future families in similar situations. Thanks for your time.

Responses

Response from Victor Cheng, Executive Director, Health Service Managament

picture of Victor Cheng

Dear atlasmx36

Thank you for your feedback. Generally, the hospital asks families to limit the number of overnight stayers to one, to ensure there is no impediment to staff accessing their patient if treatment is required during the night. I understand that for patients who come from country areas, this can present inconvenience and potentially financial burden. We are fortunate that our partnership with Ronald McDonald House, who have a house at QEII Medical Centre close to Perth Children's Hospital, means overnight accommodation can be provided to families who are in this situation, and I am sorry this option was not made available to your husband. The Perth Children’s Hospital Foundation also offer accommodation subsidies to eligible families and I encourage you to contact the Child and Family Engagement Service (CaFES), who will be able to assist you with looking into this, with the view to possible reimbursement. CaFES are available on 6456 0032 or via CAHSfeedback@health.wa.gov.au. Thank you again for taking the time to share your concerns, and please accept my best wishes for your child.

Kind regards

Dr Victor Cheng

Executive Director

Perth Children's Hospital | Mental Health | Community Health

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