Each day some of Victoria’s sickest babies and infants are admitted to the Butterfly Ward at the RCH, the Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU), with many teams from across the hospital coming together to provide specialist care. One of the teams caring for these babies is the Ophthalmology Department.
Through Good Friday Appeal support, RCH Ophthalmologists will have access to the latest equipment and technology, with the upgrade of a vital tool used in screening for eye disease in newborns, known as a RETCAM.
Using the RETCAM, clinicians are able to take digital photos of structures inside the eye to screen for paediatric eye conditions. The device will also play a pivotal role in how a patient’s evolving eye disease is managed. For example, for children with retinoblastoma, an eye cancer that develops in the retina, the RETCAM can be indispensable in detecting changes in the retina which can progress from sight-affecting to life threatening. The current system has been in use at the RCH since 2002 with almost 6,000 babies already directly benefiting from this sight-saving technology.
On average, over 13,000 surgeries are undertaken at the RCH every year. Thanks to support from the Good Friday Appeal and 3AW, clinicians across the hospital will have access to the latest equipment through the upgrade of 19 electrosurgical units.
Used in almost every surgery, and across multiple departments, the electrosurgical unit uses a high-frequency electrical current to cauterise blood vessels during surgery. The new devices will contain the latest technology available and will ensure safer, quicker, and more precise surgeries.
Thanks to support from the Good Friday Appeal, researchers at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI) are helping to ensure a brighter future for children with cardiac conditions.
Associate Professor Jonathan Mynard is a bioengineer and cardiovascular researcher at the MCRI, specialising in paediatric hypertension, medical devices, cardiovascular modelling, blood pressure and flow dynamics (haemodynamics), and congenital heart disease. Jonathan’s current research project is looking at the difference in blood pressure measurements between a child’s arms, and the impact this may have on a child’s diagnosis. It is the first study worldwide to determine the size and frequency of inter-arm blood pressure differences in children and adolescents.
Initial findings revealed that even a small difference in blood pressure measurements between one arm and the other could lead to a wrong diagnosis. “Children with high blood pressure, many of whom appear to be healthy, have a greater risk of developing hypertension in adulthood, a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease,” said Jonathan.
Thanks to support from the Good Friday Appeal, patients and families at The Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) will have access to a dedicated Garden Program, offering a supportive and interactive space for all. This educational and therapeutic initiative will be led by a multidisciplinary team including child life therapists, garden staff, and volunteers and aims to decrease stress for patients and their families, which helps to improve patient recovery. Beth Dun, Manager, Child Life Therapy at the RCH said that garden programs have great benefits for patients and families.
“The Garden Program will be incredibly beneficial for patients at the RCH. As well as giving them a place to breathe in fresh air, it can also be a welcoming space for children and young people from regional areas, who often find the city very intimidating,” said Beth.
“Gardening itself has many benefits for patients, including offering a safe, natural setting to participate in a non-clinical, fun activity that provides a welcome distraction from their illnesses. The use of familiar garden tasks that are simple and diverse offers patients the chance to feel successful as well as tasks that cater to different levels of capacity or energy.”