Spending time and being treated in Broome Regional Hospital for children today is worlds away from the experience it once was, thanks to the generosity of the local community.
For years the paediatric ward at the hospital had been housed in cramped, ageing transportable buildings.
But over the past two years, with $7.9 million of Commonwealth funding, the brand new ward has been custom built, and it opened in July.
Now, after community donations, it is alive with colour and fun, furnished with colourful murals, mountains of toys and other furniture to make life easier for young Kimberley patients and their families.
In 2011 Woolworths Broome raised $17,500 through raffles, events and collection of donations for the ward, which helped pay for toys and other extras in the outdoor and indoor play areas. This year the store raised another $22,494.
The ward’s clinical nurse manager Deb Nicholson said the play area was not only being well used by families, but they also appreciated a dedicated parent’s lounge.
“It’s fantastic to see a purpose-built area for children that really meets their needs and is designed to be a nice place for them – it’s not meant to be a scary place,” she said.
“We take them out of their rooms for any treatment, so they don’t relate treatments to their beds and they can be comfortable here.”
Ms Nicholson said admissions of patients, from newborns to 16 year olds, had increased immediately after the eight-bed ward was operational – and now remained a cheerful and busy nook of the hospital.