Health Minister Jillian Skinner today officially opened a special room for families in Nepean Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
The Ronald McDonald Family Room will be a retreat for parents and families of babies in the NICU. It contains two bedrooms with en-suites, a kitchen, lounge room, dining room and play areas, as well as a breastfeeding room and a quiet room.
The family room is a joint partnership between Ronald McDonald House Charities, Ronald McDonald House Westmead and the Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District.
“This space will allow families to enjoy the comforts of home, such as a warm shower and a freshly prepared meal, while staying close to their babies at a very difficult time in their lives,” Mrs Skinner said.
“These families have always been able to rely on the wonderful care of the staff of Nepean Hospital NICU. Now they have a special place to call their own as they help nurse their babies to strength and prepare to take them home.”
Penrith MP Stuart Ayres accompanied the minister on her visit.
“The refurbishment to Nepean Hospital’s NICU is a great addition to the services offered for patients and their families at our hospital,” Mr Ayres said.
“It will greatly ease their burden as they cope with what is often a very stressful time.”
The family room will be run by a voluntary committee comprising representatives from the Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District, Nepean Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Parents Support (NNICUPS), Ronald McDonald House Westmead and the community. It will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
There are now eight Ronald McDonald family rooms in Australian hospitals. The room at Nepean Hospital will be funded via donations to Ronald McDonald House Charities or to the hospital directly.
“I want to thank the local community, who have been incredibly supportive in refurbishing the room and whose continued assistance will be essential in ensuring it flourishes,” Ronald McDonald House Charities chief executive Malcolm Coutts said.