Social Work at The Children's Hospital at Westmead

Contact details

Mon-Fri 8:00am -4:30pm

Ph: 9845 2641 or 9845 2642

A social worker is on call for emergencies at all times.

Located on Level 1, near the end of the ramp.

Our mission

Here at the Department of Social Work, we're concerned with the emotional and social wellbeing of the children and families who come to the Hospital.

We aim to minimise the impact of illness and hospital treatment on children and families, promote health outcomes, and link children and families with appropriate support services in their community.

Social workers are bound by a code of profession conduct and ethics. We complete post-graduate education and are eligible for professional membership with the Australian Association of Social Workers.

Read more about Social Work.

How we can help

Having a child in hospital can be a stressful time. Having someone outside of the family who is aware of the impact that illness and hospitalisation can have on children and their families can help.

We're here to talk with you about:

  • adjusting to illness and injury
  • coping with stress
  • grief and loss
  • safety and crisis intervention
  • using the hospital and community services
  • concerns about your child’s development or behaviour

Our services

Social Workers work within clinical teams to provide a range of support services to children, parents and families. We coordinate information and support groups and maintain links with community organisations.

We can provide:

  • assessments for support
  • counselling and therapy
  • education and support groups
  • information and assistance in accessing services

Travel and accommodation

Travel and Accommodation Assistance 

IPTAAS is the Isolated Patients Travel and Accommodation Assistance Scheme. It provides financial assistance towards travel and accommodation costs when patients need to travel long distances for treatment that is not available locally.

Eligible patients must:

  • Live 100kms or more from the treating hospital, or travel at least 200kms in one week by making multiple trips to and from treatment
  • Be enrolled with Medicare
  • Be referred for treatment at their nearest health service or local GP

 For more information regarding IPTAAS, please follow the links below.

Accommodation

There is a range of accommodation options during your child's treatment at The Children's Hospital at Westmead. Although you can't pre-book accommodation at the Hospital, you can phone the Accommodation Coordinator on (02) 9845 2958 to discuss parent and carer accommodation options and costs before you arrive. For information on Hospital Accommodation please click here.

There are also a range of external accommodation options in the local and surrounding areas of the hospital. 

Please note that this is not a comprehensive list, you may find other private accommodation options online.

If you would like further information on accommodation, you can contact Tori Cochrane in the Social Work Department on (02) 9845 2642.

Travel

There are plenty of options when choosing how to get to The Children's Hospital at Westmead

By Train

Westmead Station is just a 10-minute walk from the Hospital.

There are direct bus and train services, and connecting bus, train and ferry services from the city, Parramatta, Strathfield, Penrith and the North Shore.

For easy, free, live timetables and updates for Sydney trains, you can download the TripView App to plan your train trips.

By Bus

There is a bus stop directly out the front of the Hospital's front entrance that can take you to and from Parramatta shopping, the train station and close by grocery stores.

Buses can be accessed by use of OPAL Cards which can be ordered online, or purchased at any Newsagency. 

Bus timetables can be found at the Transport NSW website.

Primary School aged Patients Groups 2020

These groups are for primary school aged patients of The Children's Hospital at Westmead, who have a chronic illness, disability or who attend the hospital regularly.

The groups provide an opportunity for children to meet other children like them and share experiences. The groups will include fun and interactive activities – like playing games and making resources for the children to take home with them. We want to provide a fun and safe environment in which children can feel less alone in their diagnosis.

In conjunction with these groups, we will also be holding Parent and Carer Groups. For more information on these groups, please read our Parent and Carer Workshops Flyer.

  • Who: Primary school aged patients who receive treatment at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead.
  • Dates:
    • Tuesday 24 March 2020 – 4pm – 5:30pm (Concurrent with Patients Group)
    • Tuesday 10 November 2020 – 4pm – 5:30pm (Concurrent with Patients Group)
  • Location: The Children’s Hospital Westmead, Hospital high school classrooms on Level 1 (past Hunter Baillie Ward, turn right)

You can find our flyer here! Read Primary School Patients Groups Flyer

Ready to register? CLICK HERE!

Need more information?

Call Ruth O'Connor or Bess McMahon on 9845 2641 or email us.

Sibling's Days 2020

These groups are for brothers and sisters, 5 to 18 years old, who have a sibling with a long-term medical condition, disability or attend The Children's Hospital at Westmead regularly. The day provides an opportunity for siblings to share experiences with other siblings and enhance their understanding of what happens in the hospital.

It's a fun day that includes visiting some interesting places within the hospital, playing games, talking in groups and meeting hospital staff.

We want everyone to go home with lots of ways to feel less worried about their brother or sister.

Come along; lunch is free!

In conjunction with Siblings Days, we will also be holding Parent and Carer Groups. For more information on these groups, please read our Parent and Carer Workshops Flyer.

  • Who: 5 to 18 year old brothers and sisters of patients who receive treatment at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead.
  • Dates:
    • Wednesday 22 April 2020
    • Tuesday 7 July 2020
    • Tuesday 29 September 2020
  • Time: 10am - 3 pm
  • Location: The Children’s Hospital Westmead, Hospital high school classrooms on Level 1 (past Hunter Baillie Ward, turn right)

You can find our flyer here! Read Siblings groups flyer

Ready to register? CLICK HERE!

Need more information?

Call Natasha Salimbeni on 9845 2641 or email us.

Parent and Carer Workshops 2020

There will be 5 workshops held in 2020 which will provide parents and carers of children with long-term medical conditions or disability, with the opportunity to meet other parents with children who also receive treatment at Westmead Children’s Hospital.

This gathering will provide a casual, open space for families to share experiences and learn a little more about self-care, and ways to support your children, or other family members of those seen at the hospital.

  • Who: Parents and Carers who have a child with a long-term medical condition or disability.
  • Dates:
    • Tuesday 24 March 2020 – 4pm – 5:30pm (Concurrent with Patients Group)
    • Wednesday 22 April 2020 – 10:30am – 12:30pm (Concurrent with Siblings Day)
    • Tuesday 7 July 2020 – 10:30am – 12:30pm (Concurrent with Siblings Day)
    • Tuesday 29 September 2020 – 10:30am – 12:30pm (Concurrent with Siblings Day)
    • Tuesday 10 November 2020 – 4pm – 5:30pm (Concurrent with Patients Group)
  • Location: The Children’s Hospital Westmead, Hospital high school classrooms on Level 1 (past Hunter Baillie Ward, turn right)

See our Parent and Carer Workshops Flyer.

Ready to register? CLICK HERE!

Need more information?

Call Judy Goodson on 9845 2641 or email us.

Bereavement Groups 2020

These support groups are for parents and carers of children who were patients at our Hospital and have sadly died.

It provides an opportunity to meet other families in similar situations and share experiences. 

The sibling's program will be held at the Service of Remembrance and allows children to meet with other siblings, share stories and experiences in a creative way. 

You are welcome to attend as many groups as you wish.

Fathers Group

  • Date: Tuesday 25 February 2020
  • Time: 6:30pm – 8pm
  • Location: Dooleys, Silverwater (214 Silverwater Road, Silverwater NSW 2128)

Face to Face Groups

  • Who: Parents and Carers
  • Dates:
    • Tuesday 23 June 2020
    • Saturday 10 October 2020 (Service of Remembrance)
  • Time: 10:30 am - 12 pm
  • Location: The Children’s Hospital Westmead

Teleconference Groups (Phone/Video)

  • Who: Parents and Carers
  • Dates:
    • Tuesday 12 May 2020
    • Wednesday 12 August 2020
  • Time: 7:30pm – 8:30pm
  • Location: Call or video in from home

Interested in coming along?

Click here to register now.

Like more information?

 Email us or call Denise Potter on (02) 9845 2641.

Grief and loss resources

Dealing with grief and loss is hard enough for adults. Explaining and supporting grief to children can be challenging especially if the child is pre-verbal or has medical issues of their own. Very often children express grief and loss through their behaviour. We have several booklets which provide information about managing and supporting children through troubling times.

Trauma resources

Service of Remembrance

Join us for Remembrance Day 2020

Because "love is a moment that lasts forever", every year we invite parents and families to join with us to remember the lives their loved ones who have been patients at the Hospital and have passed away.

Our interfaith memorial service is on Saturday 10 October 2020 at 2pm. Please join us. 

You are most welcome to bring flowers with you to place them in memory of your child.

The service will be held in The Children’s Garden, Level one.

Free parking is made available in The Children’s Hospital at Westmead visitors car park. Entrance via Hawkesbury Road.

We invite everyone to stay and share refreshments with us after the service. 

If you'd like to come, please RSVP by Wednesday 30 September. To RSVP, please contact the Social Work Department on 98452642 or email us.

Like more information?

Call Lyn Biviano on 9845 2641 or email us.

Hospital-based resources

External support agencies

The following support services may be useful to families of the Hospital:

 Social Work Students

The Social Work Department supports the professional development of social work students by offering a range of placement opportunities each year. We are only able to accept students undertaking placement as part of an AASW accredited degree in social work and can not accept volunteers or work experience students.

We have placement agreements with a wide range of universities and all NSW Health placements are booked by the student’s university via a centralised booking system (ClinConnect). Students should not contact the Department to request a placement, please speak with your Universities Field Education staff. NSW Health Policy requires students to undertake a range of checks prior to placement.

Placement is an important part of Social Work education and students gain a sense of their professional role and learn to put what they have been taught at university into practice. We offer indirect (research/ quality improvement/project work) placements for students completing their first placement and direct and/or indirect placements to final placement students.

The placement and on-going work of students within the hospital is coordinated and monitored by the Social Work Student Educator, Jenny Rose, who can be contacted if hospital staff have any feedback about social work students within the hospital.

Students who have been on placement in the hospital have reported a valuable and enriching learning experience and the on-going encouragement of social work students by patients, families and the hospital is appreciated by the Social Work Department.

Want to be a Social Worker?

Social Worker is a four-year undergraduate or two year masters (qualifying) degree offered by a range of universities in Australia. Further information about studying social work can be found on the Australian Association of Social Workers website.