News - 2009
Swine flu and childhood obesity- answers from the Kids Research Institute
Swine flu and childhood obesity are both topical issues at the moment. Kids Research Institute at The Children's Hospital at Westmead will be holding public lectures on both topics during National Science Week.
‘Solving swine flu with science: a vaccine victory?' is the topic Professor Robert Booy Head, Clinical Research at the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS) and paediatrician, will present.
Childhood obesity is a significant and increasing problem in Australia, raising concerns about future trends of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Dr Sarah Garnett is an NHMRC Australian Clinical Research Fellow and research dietitian in the Kids Research Institute and Susie Burrell is one of Australia's leading dietitians. Both talk on the topic ‘Bigger but not better- the growing problem of childhood obesity.'
Now entering its twelfth year, National Science Week offers over hundreds of events throughout Australia, reaching an audience of over a million people.
National Science Week 2009 will run from 15 - 23 August. Details about National Science Week events can be found at www.scienceweek.gov.au.
The 49th Tulip Time Festival
Australia's oldest and largest flower festival - has generously chosen to support the Hospital's Centre for Kidney Research. The Festival will be held in Bowral from 24 September to 7 October 2009 .
3rd Annual Patient Survey Underway
The 3rd annual statewide patient survey in NSW was launched today with over 200,000 surveys posted to people who experienced public health care services in February 2009. The survey is sent to a random, representative sample of patients who received inpatient, emergency or outpatient services.
"I encourage those who receive a survey to complete and return it so the experience of patients and their carers can help improve our health services," said Tony Penna, Chief Executive of The Children's Hospital at Westmead.
"The Children's Hospital at Westmead is committed to using the results of the state wide patient survey and the other feedback we regularly obtain from children, young people and their families about their care and working with them and staff to continually improve services at the Hospital," he said.
Smoking Kills Fun
World No Tobacco Day is on May 31 and adolescent patients at The Children's Hospital at Westmead have created a 40 second animation, using clay, pipe cleaners and other materials, called Smoking Kills Fun.
Watching the clip can win a young person an iPod Touch, Classic, Nano or Shuffle.
Go to http://www.chw.edu.au/parents/kidshealth/smoking/ to enter the competition. Fill in the form and add the e-mail addresses of two friends who may also like to enter.
Australia’s First Paediatric Simulation Centre Launched
At 10am on 18th May, Her Excellency Professor Marie Bashir Ac CVO, Governor New South Wales, will open the first dedicated paediatric Simulation Centre in Australia and South East Asia at The Children's Hospital at Westmead. A multi-million dollar project, this facility will undoubtedly save young lives - something of immeasurable benefit to the community. Investing in building upon the talent and capabilities of doctors and other health professionals is vitally important for a healthy future for generations to come.
The Kim Oates Paediatric Simulation Centre, at The Children's Hospital at Westmead, will be a unique facility designed to keep clinical staff skilled in the most cutting-edge treatments for sick children, especially in emergency and procedural scenarios. It will provide priceless training opportunities using advanced technology which replicates real life scenarios and allows for learning, educational innovation, collaboration and research.
Laughter is the best medicine!
10 years of bringing smiles and laughter to the patients at The Children's Hospital at Westmead
Patients and staff are at high risk of infection, and it's cheerfully contagious. Laughter is expected to spread quickly as Clown DoctorsTM celebrate 10 years at The Children's Hospital at Westmead, tickling funny bones and dosing sick children with medicine of a different kind....fun and laughter!
Young patients, their families, staff and supporters will join madcap ‘medics' including Dr Colourfool, Dr Twang, Dr Sniggles, and Dr S Duffer to celebrate with fun, frivolity and of course, a birthday cake at 11am on Wednesday 22nd April 2009.
"A smile, a laugh, and a moment of fun can help children cope better with hospital and escape from their illness for a few moments. Clown Doctors can help worried and stressed families share fun and laughter,' said co-founder and Creative Director Jean-Paul Bell. "The Clown Doctors are highly skilled professional performers, trained to work in the sensitive hospital setting, who help to lighten the serious side of hospital, relieve anxiety and stress and help recovery."
Shaking Your Baby is Just Not the Deal
The Children's Hospital at Westmead commends Apple for withdrawing the disturbing game that unfortunately portrays the response that parents or carers can have to a baby's crying. Crying is a means of expression for babies; it is also a way of seeking closeness and comfort. However if hearing crying is stressful for parents or carers, this scenario can also be dangerous for both the baby and the parents.
Universal education needs to be available for parents so they can understand the dangers of shaking babies and also develop a repertoire of safe responses to the baby's crying. Babies who are shaken can suffer serious injury or may die. The 3 minute film Shaking Your Baby is Just not the Deal is an Australian product that is being sought after in the United Kingdom and other countries.
Major Breakthrough for People with Cystic Fibrosis
The Children's Hospital at Westmead will today announce the results of a clinical trial where they have seen a major therapeutic advance into Cystic Fibrosis (CF), a major cause of shortened life span in young people in Australia. Despite extensive research by many groups, there have been no new drugs specifically registered for CF in the last ten years.
The trial has been sponsored by Australian based pharmaceutical company Pharmaxis. It has compared Bronchitol, a novel mucus clearance agent invented and developed in Australia by an Australian company, on lung function and quality of life for children and adults living with CF. Bronchitol is a dry powder that works to break the vicious cycle of impaired clearance, infection, inflammation and lung damage that is present in patients who have CF.
The clinical trial was successful, meeting both its primary and key secondary endpoints comfortably. Patients taking Bronchitol had a consistently better lung function than those taking placebo. The improvement reached a level of 6.6% compared to that measured at the start of the study. The effect commenced early in the study and was sustained for the full 6 months patients were receiving drug. Furthermore Bronchitol was effective in improving lung function in trial participants whether or not they were taking the most commonly prescribed existing treatment for cystic fibrosis, Dornase alpha. If approved Bronchitol will be among the first inhaled dry powder products registered for cystic fibrosis and offers patients a treatment option with less drug administration time and the equipment maintenance issues associated with nebulised liquids.
New insight into Rett Syndrome severity
A research collaboration between Australia and Israel has identified a genetic variation that influences the severity of symptoms in Rett syndrome.
The finding is published in the latest edition of the international journal Neurology.
Dr Helen Leonard, who heads the Australian Rett Syndrome Study at the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research said the finding was exciting in that it identifies a potential new target for treatment of the debilitating neurological disorder.
"We know that there is a wide range in the onset and severity of symptoms in patients with Rett syndrome but it has been difficult to give families a firm idea of how the disorder would progress," Dr Leonard said.
"This information is potentially helpful in predicting the clinical progression, but importantly, gives us another area to explore for potential therapies."
Clean Hands Save Lives
Tuesday 5th May is World Hand Hygiene Day, marking the World Health Organisation's global call to action on hand hygiene. The Children's Hospital at Westmead has slashed healthcare associated infection rates with a deliberate campaign to increase hand cleaning among staff. Hand hygiene contributes significantly to keeping patients safe from infections.
To promote the day, the Hospital will have activities in the Galleria. A "Bugsy" (ultraviolet light) will be set up which will reveal how well hands are washed. The winner will be announced for the clinical area with the highest hand hygiene compliance rate for 2008 and there will be displays and prizes.
In 2008, The Children's Hospital at Westmead won the NSW Health Award for Patient Safety with its project to reduce hospital acquired infections by implementing an improved hand washing regime among staff. The Hospital prioritised hand hygiene as part of the two-year campaign which began with the Clinical Excellence Commission's Clean Hands Save Lives initiative. Following the completion of the 18-month CEC project, the hospital continued with regular reporting on compliance at management and executive meetings, compliance observation and role-modelling by senior executives.
Australian Health Professionals Call for National Response to Rare Diseases
On the eve of the second Rare Diseases Global Awareness Day on 28th February 2009, Australian health professionals are calling for a co-ordinated national response to rare diseases. Rare diseases are actually common with about 8000 rare diseases affecting an estimated 1.5 million Australians, including about 300,000 Australian children. The Australian Paediatric Surveillance Unit (APSU), based at The Children's Hospital at Westmead, is a unique Australian resource that facilitates rare disease research. "In 2006, paediatricians reporting to the unit identified 570 children newly diagnosed with 16 different rare diseases," said Director Professor Elizabeth Elliott. "However, due to lack of research, there are thousands of rare diseases for which the number of affected children and the appropriate management is unknown."
Bringing out the Best in Newborn Babies
The Children's Hospital at Westmead launches free developmental calendar for NSW parents
The arrival of a new baby is a very special time, particularly for parents and close family members.
Knowing what best to do in those vital early months and years, when brain development is so rapid, can be stressful and confusing.
To help new parents navigate their way through this period, The Children's Hospital at Westmead is leading the way by providing caregivers with practical advice to maximise their newborn baby's communication, physical, social and emotional development and wellbeing.
On Friday 6th February, The Kids Health Unit at The Children's Hospital at Westmead launched an exciting new resource entitled, ‘Bringing Out The Best in Your Baby', which will be supplied free of charge to all new parents in NSW.
Working Together to Improve the Health of Babies and Young People
Cambodian Launch of International Postgraduate Paediatric Certificate
PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA: The Children's Hospital at Westmead and The Ministry of Health, Cambodia will today celebrate the National Launch of The International Postgraduate Paediatric Certificate, a post-graduate course in paediatrics for doctors, jointly awarded by The Children's Hospital at Westmead and the Coppleson Committee of Continuing Medical Education at The University of Sydney.
The governments of Australia and Cambodia have been working tirelessly to improve the health of their children and young people for many years.
The launch on the 11th February of the International Postgraduate Paediatric Certificate represents the newest phase of this collaboration. This launch would not be possible without the close working relationship between the Cambodian Ministry of Health - represented by H.E. Professor Eng Huot and the Australian Government - represented at today's launch by Ambassador Margaret Adamson.
Kick start 2009 health resolutions with LOOZIT: A weight management program for teens
After 2 years, 18 groups and countless success stories, LOOZIT is back helping young people look good and feel great the practical and healthy way.
The LOOZIT study developed by The Children's Hospital at Westmead is now available for young people in Sydney aged from 13 to16 years who want help with weight management. The program aims to empower young people with skills, knowledge and confidence to re-gain control of their body size, build self esteem, set healthy lifestyle goals and have fun.
"Our program has a positive focus with emphasis on the whole family making realistic and achievable lifestyle changes that can fit in with everyday life in the long term." explains Janice O'Connor, Research Dietitian at The Children's Hospital at Westmead.
The Children’s Hospital at Westmead Launches First in Burns Prevention
Embargoed 1pm 17 February 2009
The Children's Hospital at Westmead today launched a first in Burns Prevention for Schools in NSW and the ACT. The Learn to Stop Burns! Program has been developed as an educational resource for children in an effort to lower the incidences of burns in the home.
In order to raise awareness of burns prevention The Children's Hospital at Westmead engaged with an education consultant to develop the "Learn to Stop Burns!" program and teaching resource.
The "Learn to Stop Burns!" program is a computer-based, animated "hazard house", which allows users to journey through a house to see and learn how burns can happen and also how they can be prevented.
A teaching resource was developed containing suggested teaching and learning activities, which assist students in exploring the house. The activities allow students to work towards achieving the stage two and stage three outcomes in the Safe living strand of the K-6 Syllabus Personal Development, Health and Physical Education (PDHPE).
Review of Shared Facilities Opportunities in Western Sydney
The Children's Hospital at Westmead and Sydney West Area Health Service are working together to identify potential synergies and savings in back office functions, with the objective of reinvesting savings into their priority funding programs.
The Children's Hospital at Westmead is one of Australia's leading hospitals and is a stand-alone health service within the geographical boundaries of Sydney West Area Health Service. Due to the close physical proximity of these services, a logical process is to review duplicate corporate services, such as finance, security, childcare, engineering, information services, transport, mail services, human resources, maintenance, planning and procurement, with a view to making savings through shared administration and running costs.
Volunteer for the 20th Year!
The patients and staff at The Children's Hospital at Westmead encourage you to volunteer for the 20th Anniversary of the Bandaged Bear Day Appeal on Friday 27 March 2009. This year they are encouraging the community to get involved and bring a friend along!
It's easy to make a difference in the life of a sick child, volunteer on Friday 27 March to help sell Bandaged Bear merchandise at train stations, shopping centres and major business districts across Sydney.
Clip-on Bandaged Bears will be dressed up in a party themed coat this year. Pens, hacky sacks, note pads and pins will also be available for purchase. Bandaged Bear merchandise will also be on sale in participating retail outlets across NSW. With the community's support we can all help to make sick kids better.
Raising funds for an Australian First Neonatal Clinic
Each year, over 600 newborns with serious medical conditions receive life-saving care at The Grace Centre for Newborn Care at The Children's Hospital at Westmead. In February, Grace's Gala will be held, in an effort to raise funds for a Follow-Up Clinic, the first of its kind in Australia.
Grace's Gala, which was held for the first time last year, is now an annual event, raising funds to build a Neurodevelopment Follow-up Clinic and a Research and Education Centre. Parents and carers initially approached the Hospital because they knew that survival was only one part of the overall journey. They wanted to be sure that their children had access to follow-up services to help them meet their full long-term potential. Doctors and Nurses have now made this project their own and have been working hard with the community to raise the funds needed to make this dream a reality.