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A hospice for children in NSW

NSW's first children's hospice, Bear Cottage, was opened by the Minister for Health, Mr Craig Knowles on St Patrick's Day, Saturday 17 March 2001.

Located in St. Patrick's Estate, Manly, Bear Cottage has been built by The Children's Hospital at Westmead and is the first children's hospice in the world to be owned and operated by a children's hospital.

With a home-like atmosphere, the hospice provides palliative and respite care for children with terminal and life limiting illnesses and their families as well as bereavement support.

As well as palliative care facilities, Bear Cottage contains the amenities of a comfortable home including 10 bedrooms for sick children, family accommodation and recreation areas including a spa room, multi-sensory room, teens' room and quiet room.

Mr Knowles says that as part of The Children's Hospital at Westmead, Bear Cottage will provide the highest quality care possible for these children and their families.

"Bear Cottage will broaden and enhance The Children's Hospital at Westmead's palliative care program by providing respite for families whose children have long-term, often complicated illnesses; palliative care for children at the end of their lives; and bereavement support for families whose child has died," says Mr Knowles.

Professor Kim Oates, CEO of The Children's Hospital at Westmead says paediatric palliative care aims to maximise the quality of life of the child with a life limiting illness and to provide support to the child's family and other carers.

"With estimates of one-in-10,000 children having a life limiting illness, there are 800 families in NSW eligible to use Bear Cottage. Families staying at Bear Cottage will not only come from The Children's Hospital at Westmead, but from all over NSW including Sydney Children's and John Hunter Hospitals," explained Professor Oates.

Other special guests for the opening included the Hospital's mascot The Bandaged Bear, the Humour Foundation's lovable Clown Doctors who will be regular visitors to Bear Cottage, and a special puppy from Assistance Dogs For Independence who are providing Bear Cottage with one of it's specially trained dogs as a companion for children and families.

At a cost of $7.9 million, the establishment of Bear Cottage has been entirely funded through community donations. Operational costs of an estimated $1.5 million per year will also be funded from donations.

Donations can be made by phoning (02) 9845 3367 or mail to Bear Cottage Fundraising at The Children's Hospital at Westmead, Locked Bag 4001, Westmead NSW 2145.

For further information about Bear Cottage, click here.

Jacqui Fishpool
Community Relations Officer
on Ph (02) 9845 0304 or (02) 9214 0464 (pager).

This document was released on Monday, 19 March, 2001

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