The Townsville Hospital Foundation has been helping fulfil the ‘Care’ promise in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit’s title, giving over $100,000 to the Unit over the past five years.
As a Salary Saint who donates a nominated amount of his pay to the Townsville Hospital Foundation Professor Guan Koh, Director of Neonatology, leads by example.
When you enter the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at The Townsville Hospital you’ll notice how bright and inviting it looks. With decorative skylights that let the sunshine stream in and nursing chairs the colour of the rainbow, it’s a welcoming space for newborns and their families.
“We focus a lot on curing babies but it’s also important to us to care for their families and the Townsville Hospital Foundation helps us do that,” says head of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Prof Guan Koh.
“They’ve donated money towards our skylights, nursing chairs, BiliSoft blankets (which help treat jaundice) and so much more. Without them we wouldn’t have our TVs with DVD players to educate new parents about safe sleeping and they always help us with flowers for mums who’ve
lost a bub.”
More than 200 parents and babies returned to NICU for a reunion last year, with the oldest ‘baby’ in attendance now 20 years old. The Townsville Foundation Hospital made the event possible by donating barbecue supplies and decorations.
“Often there’s no money in the budget for the ‘little extras’ that make a big difference to the patient experience and that’s what we’re here to help with,” says Townsville Hospital Foundation’s Marketing and Volunteer Coordinator Megan King.
“When Clinical Directors like Prof Guan keep us in the loop with what they need it makes it easier for us to provide these items. One of the reasons the NICU has received so much money is that they ask us for what they need. If we can’t provide it straight away, we’ll fundraise for it and work towards making it happen.”
Cherie Royce and newborn Natalie have high praise for the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and the creature comforts provided by the Townsville Hospital Foundation.
Dr Guan, a champion of the foundation, also helps the Unit help itself by donating some of his pay to the Townsville Hospital Foundation through the Salary Saints program. Everyone — business and individuals included — can donate a nominated amount of their pay to the Townsville Hospital Foundation via www.everydayhero.com.au/event/thfdonate with donations over $2 tax-deductible. One-off donations are also very welcome.
“The hospital is here because it serves the community and I think there’s something very special if the community helps us help them by donating to the Townsville Hospital Foundation, as I do,” Prof Guan says.
“We have just over 850 babies a year coming through our nursery from the whole of North Queensland so it’s a big job. The community and the hospital need to work together like a pair of chopsticks.
“When I go down to Brisbane I feel proud that we’ve got the Townsville Hospital Foundation and all of our sunny yellow-shirted volunteers. There’s a beautiful quote that one of the privileges of life is in giving not receiving and I believe that to be true.”