Koala ward at the RCH provides specialist care for children and young people with both cardiac and renal conditions and is proud to be a National Funded Centre in a variety of areas, including paediatric heart transplantation.
That means patients come from across Victoria, Australia and internationally for world-class care on Koala ward. For many patients and families who spend extended periods of time at the RCH, it’s a home away from home.
May 3 is Wild Koala Day and an important day to recognise the conservation of one of our most iconic Australian animals and their habitat.
To mark this this day we visited our own Koala ward to meet six-year-old Ruby.
Earlier this year, Ruby who lives with her grandparents and two brothers in Geelong, became sick with a virus which she struggled to recover from.
When Ruby’s grandmother Donna noticed that her happy and outgoing granddaughter was becoming more unwell, she took her to their local hospital where they found Ruby was having problems with her kidneys.
She was referred to the RCH for further care and was diagnosed with end-stage kidney disease.
“Since Ruby was diagnosed in January we have spent quite a bit of time at the RCH on Koala ward, and I can’t speak highly enough of the care we’ve received,” Donna said.
“The experience of becoming unwell and having to start daily dialysis was very scary for Ruby, and my husband and I had a lot to learn so that we could take her home and continue dialysis every night.
“Throughout everything, the staff at the RCH were only a phone call away, they contacted us every day to check how we were going. They are just wonderful people who go out of their way to help.”
Ruby will continue dialysis and will undergo further tests and treatments to ensure she is well when the time comes to receive a kidney transplant.
In the meantime, when she visits the RCH, Ruby enjoys colouring and painting portraits of the staff, and spending time with the nurses at the Koala ward nurses station.
RCH World Illustration by Jane Reiseger.