As adults, there are many things that we take for granted. We are, for example, used to being called by name and expect others to practice common courtesies when interacting with us. We are also able to vocalise and exercise our rights.
Life is very different for children because they depend heavily on the guidance and support of other people, and are often simply seen as an extension of their parent or guardian. But Netcare Park Lane Hospital believes that a child is their own person with their own identity and deserves no less respect than an adult does.
‘This is why we are introducing the Netcare Children’s Charter,’ explained Hospital Manager Nellie Koen at the launch of the Charter and the unveiling of the Netcare Park Lane Hospital Paediatric Ward upgrade last night. ‘We have always felt that it was important to provide children with the emotional support that they need when in hospital and away from home. The Charter was written in line with the Netcare values of Care, Dignity, Participation, Truth and Passion and is a way for us to formalise the rights that we feel children are entitled to during their stay in hospital.’
Koen said that as far as she knew this is the first time that a Children’s Healthcare Charter has been introduced within a South African hospital. She said she hopes that the adoption of a healthcare charter for children will become standard practice at all hospitals and hospital groups throughout South Africa, because, she points out, ‘our children deserve the very highest levels of commitment’.
‘The Paediatric Ward is yet another milestone in the history of maternity and paediatric care at the hospital,’ she continued. ‘The hospital has always been highly regarded by medical professionals and the public alike, particularly in the areas of maternity and paediatric care. One of the reasons for this is the historically stable and long-term relationships that the hospital has enjoyed with its doctors.’
‘Some of our doctors have delivered up to three generations of the same family - something that we are very proud of,’ added Koen. ‘Now we are setting the bar even higher on our service offering with newer and better facilities being made available to our little patients and their parents or guardians.’
‘A particular emphasis has been placed on the environment in which the children spend their stay at the hospital. We have made a special effort to provide new overnight facilities where there is now a bed for a parent or guardian in the child’s room. This creates a far more comfortable, 'home-like' environment, relieving both child and parent of much of the stress often felt in this ‘foreign’ and generally difficult situation.’
Dr Richard Friedland, Netcare’s CEO, said at the launch that as a parent he fully understood the emotional impact that hospitalisation can have on a young child.
‘I am proud that hospitals in our group such as Netcare Park Lane Hospital are taking this wonderful initiative in order to take the care given to their little patients and their loved ones to a whole new level,’ he continued. ‘The Netcare Children’s Charter as well as the newly upgraded Paediatric Ward are truly great milestones for paediatric care in South Africa.’
He went on to point out that Netcare as a group was committed to rising above sectoral or partisan interests and working with government toward a common national good. The Netcare Park Lane Hospital’s new Children’s Charter was undertaken in this spirit and is an ‘inspiration to the other Netcare hospitals and the sector as a whole’, he added.
Friedland commended the staff members of the Netcare Park Lane Hospital for their pro-active, patient centred approach in developing the Children’s Healthcare Charter, and for the high level of commitment they had shown to their patients through the years.
‘Within the greater Johannesburg area Netcare Park Lane Hospital is top of mind in the field of obstetrics,’ he pointed out. ‘This is no mean feat and is in no small measure due to the dedication, care and expertise of the staff at the hospital. Now the hospital has entered a new dimension with its groundbreaking Children’s Healthcare Charter and new, patient centred paediatric unit.’
Dr Jack Kussel, a paediatrician at the Netcare Park Lane Hospital, said that the Paediatric Ward was ‘the crowning jewel’ of the hospital.
‘Many very ill children have been treated by the exceptional medical and nursing staff here,’ he added, ‘and many a life has been saved. The staff have worked for many years to maintain their outstanding relationships with doctors and deliver an exceptionally high standard of patient care.’
Dr Kussel said in an ideal world children under three years of age should not have to go through the stress of a hospital stay. However, if they did have to be admitted, Netcare Park Lane Hospital was a facility that comes highly recommended.
He added that as a paediatrician practicing in a facility where children were at the centre of care and where their rights were all important he felt compelled to set a number of golden rules in terms of paediatric care.
Being a child focussed paediatrician means:
- knowing when to prescribe
- knowing when not to admit to hospital
- knowing when not to traumatise a child by doing unnecessary blood tests and procedures
- above all ‘ treating our often defenceless little patients as we ourselves wish to be treated.
Issued by: Martina Nicholson Associates (MNA) on behalf of Netcare
Contact: Martina Nicholson or Graeme Swinney
Telephone: (011) 469 3016
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or Graeme@mnapr.co.za