New Children's Play Area and Adolescent Room
A new play area for children and adolescent's room at St Luke's Hospital, Rathgar.
St Luke's Hospital is the national, and only centre providing radiotherapy treatment for children. In 2016, 40 children were treated at St Luke's, with each child receiving several weeks of daily treatment. The treatment regime can require patients and their parents to spend several hours each day in the hospital's Radiotherapy Department.
Prior to this initiative, whilst toys were available for children there was no child friendly indoor space for children to occupy while they waited for their treatment or while they were being monitored post-treatment. It was recognised that better play and recreational facilities at the hospital were important to helping children and their families during their cancer treatment.
In 2015, a multi-disciplinary group was established to develop an indoor play area within the hospital. The area selected is close to both the radiotherapy nurses station and close to the anaesthetic recovery room. The Group also worked to develop an adjacent ante-room as an adolescent area, in recognition of their differing needs from younger children.
In September, 2015, the Friends of St Luke's came on-board with the project and approved funding for the new areas. Antoin Doyle was appointed architect for the children's play area project.
In tandem, the final design of the adolescent area was selected by way of a competition organised in conjunction with Griffith College Faculty of Design. The brief was to design a room where young people could wait for treatment whilst feeling comfortable and relaxed. The completed space encompasses a games console area, re-charging stations for devices, TV and comfortable seating. 2nd year Student Annet Lund's design was selected for this part of the project.
Several familes of previous paediatric patients contributed to the project including contributing finally toward the overall cost of the project and/or provided an extensive range of toys and equipment for the children.
Amongst these families were David and Tina Fitzgerald, parents of Katie (16) was treated at St Luke's but passed away in 2007 who organised a back-tie ball to raise funds for the adolescent room. Whilst Alan and Valerie Farrell, parents of Ben (5) who was treated at the hospital but passed away in August last year, donated toys for the children's playroom in memory of Ben.
Minister for Health, Simon Harris, TD speaking at the opening commented "The hard work of all stakeholders in bringing this project to fruition must be commended. Hosptial treatment, particualrly for cancer, can be a scary and daunting prospect for children and their families but having a safe area such as this which distracts and entertains young children can provide welcome relief.
I would particularly like to recognise the families of those who have lost sons, daughters, brothers, sisters to cancer for the contribution they have made to making this project a reality. For them to give something back to others, notwithstanding their own grief, is hugely admirable".