Sydney children's hospitals to receive positive pressure rooms


Monday, 06 November, 2023

Sydney children's hospitals to receive positive pressure rooms

Two Sydney children’s hospitals will soon receive high-tech isolation rooms that help keep immunocompromised children safe by reducing the risk of exposure to viruses and other infections.

Known as positive pressure ventilation anterooms (PPVAs), these rooms function as a protective shield for some of the sickest and most vulnerable children.

Positive air pressure is created using a specialised air ventilation system, preventing airflow between the corridor and the patient’s bedroom. This technology is designed to significantly reduce the chance of airborne pathogens from the outside environment (such as viruses) reaching immunocompromised patients, such as cancer or transplant patients.

The rooms will be built into the cancer care wards and intensive care units at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead and Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick, with completion expected in 2025.

The initiative is part of a NSW Government commitment to rebuild essential health services with the September budget, including $3 billion for new and upgraded hospitals across greater Western Sydney.

“This technology is something that paediatric health care has never had before in NSW, making it a first for both the Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network and the state,” Premier Chris Minns said.

“For kids who are immunosuppressed, being able to reduce the risk of getting a virus or a cold is so important during what is usually intense treatment, and that’s why we want to ensure our hospitals have the ability to protect sick kids and their families as much as possible.”

In preparation for the upgrade, The Children’s Hospital at Westmead has developed prototypes of the new rooms so that staff can familiarise themselves with the layout and the technology while engaging in simulations and training.

A related initiative will see carer zones introduced inside the intensive care units of both hospitals, allowing parents and carers to remain with children while they are in hospital.

Minister for Health Ryan Park said the PPVAs would be a crucial tool in helping to protect seriously ill and severely immunocompromised children.

“These new facilities for the Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network will benefit patients and their families who are navigating challenging, and often very complex, health concerns,” he said.

“The carer zones — which were championed by staff and families — will also provide more support, setting a new standard for family-centred care across our hospitals.”

Image credit: iStock.com/FatCamera

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