Mirvac renovates parent accommodation at The Children's Hospital at Westmead

Darlington Point mum Tracie Ewan’s world was turned upside down on October 29 this year when her youngest son Matthew suffered a stroke following a tragic backyard accident.

The youngster was airlifted to the Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick, before being transferred to The Children’s Hospital at Westmead (CHW) where he is currently a patient in the Neurology and Neurosurgery Ward.

Matthew is facing an extended stay in hospital, with Tracie having been a constant by his side for the past six weeks.

Given she is more than 600km from her home town and has two other sons, it’s been a trying time for the former student nurse.

But Tracie is at least able to stay close to Matthew’s side at CHW after recently moving into the hospital’s newly opened Parent and Carer Wing.

Part of a larger program of on-site accommodation upgrades at CHW, the new wing is a refurbished space within the hospital and was previously utilised as on-call doctors’ accommodation, which has been moved to another section of the hospital. The previous parents’ accommodation has been decommissioned with the future of that space to be determined.

Thanks to property company Mirvac – who did $50,000 worth of refurbishment work, free of charge – parents and carers of sick kids have a new, more comfortable place to stay while their children are being looked after.

“This new wing is fantastic,” said Tracie. “It’s great that I can be really close to Matty and I’ve got my little bar fridge in the room, there’s a parents’ kitchen area, a laundry is on the same level. There’s everything you need here.

“I’m really grateful to the hospital and to Mirvac for spending the time and money to make this new wing a comfortable and welcome space.

“Even though it’s a difficult time for the whole family, it’s little things like having a safe, clean, neat affordable place to stay that helps ease the burden.”

Young parents Brent and Kylie Keogh also recently spent time in the new parents’ rooms as their seven-month-old son Joel recovered from heart surgery.

“The hospital staff was fantastic in helping us move from the old hostel to these new rooms,” Brent said. “We needed to be with Joel constantly so it was fantastic to have somewhere to stay so close to the ward. Joel’s home with us now, which is fantastic, but we were thankful to have access to this quality accommodation, so close to our boy’s bedside.”

The 29 rooms that make up the Parent and Carer Ward are available at a low cost for families of the hospital’s sick kids, with patients from the intensive care unit making up the bulk of the families, with the average parents’ stay about four nights.

Mirvac’s General Manager, Residential Development NSW, Toby Long said the manpower and materials donated by the company for the work were part of a business-wide program of community involvement, and was another chapter in their long association with the hospital.

“Since we started our relationship with the hospital, it has been surprising how many staff have come and let us know that either their children, or their family or friends’ children have had an interaction with the hospital at some point in time,” he said. It really motivates people to come forward and want to offer to help out with our next project.”

The new Parent and Carer Wing will be officially opened this week.