8-year-old Anastasia from Beaufort West, a small town 500km from Cape Town, was first admitted to the Red Cross War Memorial
Children’s Hospital when she was just nine months old. She had swallowed battery acid that had been unwisely stored in a juice bottle under the kitchen sink. She suffered Caustic Ingestion, which led to excessive vomiting due to damaged soft tissue in her oesophagus – and this affected her feeding and eventually her lungs.
Specialist surgeons performed surgical procedures to broaden her tiny throat, but since her weight was dangerously low, doctors also inserted a feeding tube (which is replaced every alternate year). Unfortunately, Anastasia eventually had to have one of her lungs removed, but she’s getting stronger every day.
Anastasia’s mother, Henriette, has spent months at a time away from home because of her daughter’s fragile condition and is grateful for the Hospital’s on-site Parents Accommodation. Travelling back and forth from Beaufort West was not financially viable for Henriette, and she wanted to be close to Anastasia. Henriette praises the hospitality of staff at the Parents Accommodation, and says she was warmly received every day and grateful for the meals provided. She explains that the difficult circumstances with her daughter were far more manageable with her being within walking distance of her bedside and not having to worry about accommodation.
The Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital follows a family-friendly approach towards the care of sick children, allowing parents and caregivers access to their children 24 hours a day. Since evidence shows that the recovery of sick children is greatly improved when their parents are present during their hospitalisation, the need for a place for caregivers and parents to stay overnight is crucial. However, due to the increase in demand, there is an urgent need to increase the capacity of the outdated accommodation
in order to house the many parents needing to stay overnight, or for as long as their children are hospitalised.