How a volunteer made Bibi’s hospital visit fun
Visiting the hospital can be an anxious and stressful experience. If you are a parent of a child or young person with a life-limiting condition, the hospital can also become an unwanted second home.
Five-year-old Bibi and her mum Bronwyn are very familiar with this routine. Every three months, they attend the Neuromuscular Clinic at Royal Children’s Hospital. A visit to the clinic can last four to five hours, in which time Bibi will see up to five specialists in no apparent order or specific time slot.
“It’s very hard to entertain a five-year-old in a small space and help them to be patient under circumstances like this,” shares Bronwyn. “If you leave the waiting room to get food or go to the toilet or just to go for a short walk, you can miss appointments and prolong the day.”
This is where Very Special Kids’ hospital volunteer program can step in. Designated volunteers visit the hospital to provide a helping hand to very special kids and their families.
“It was a huge relief to have a volunteer there to play with Bibi. It helped to change her experience of RCH from a medicalised and negative experience to a fun and positive one!”Bibi’s mum, Bronwyn
According to her mum, Bibi was enamoured with her ‘special friend’ Danielle. They enjoyed a range of activities together, including art, craft, drawing and reading storybooks, as well as a visit to the outdoor playground.
Not only did this have a tremendous impact on Bibi, but it also helped her mum Bronwyn. Thanks to Danielle’s assistance Bronwyn could see Bibi’s geneticist by herself, she had the time to ask questions and have more of a frank discussion about Bibi’s condition.
Speaking of her own experience, volunteer Danielle shares, “I value the opportunity to bring a small piece of the Very Special Kids team to families at a time when kids are potentially disconnected from all their other networks.”
“I get to not only play and connect with the kids, but also chat with parents, grandparents and carers.”
After spending time with Danielle, Bibi is less hesitant to visit RCH for upcoming appointments. Her mum Bronwyn plans to reach out to Very Special Kids, as soon as she knows her next appointment date so they can have more volunteer support in future.
Very Special Kids have a team of trained volunteers, who are rostered to visit the children in our care during their stay at The Royal Children’s Hospital and Monash Children’s Hospital.
If you are a Very Special Kids family, and would like to have a volunteer visit you or your child during their hospital stay, please express your interest here.
Categories: Family News, Volunteer News