Twenty-eight refreshed units have opened at the Westmead Accommodation Complex, with patients and carers welcoming the change as a “breath of fresh air”.
The complex provides low-cost, temporary accommodation for people receiving care at Westmead Hospital and other local hospital facilities, and their families.
Peta Jones from Dubbo was one of the first residents to arrive.
Her daughter Taylah was severely injured in a car accident eight weeks ago, and Peta described the new accommodation as “a godsend”.
“I didn’t know what to expect but walking in it’s amazing. It’s lovely to have your own space – it’s beautiful,” Peta said.
The new patient and carer accommodation replaces Casuarina Lodge, which is being demolished to make way for the Integrated Mental Health Complex.
“Casuarina Lodge was shared, so you’re sharing a kitchen, sharing a bathroom, sharing laundries. It was a bit hard,” Peta said.
This is a breath of fresh air. It’s lovely, peaceful and calming with nature all around you.”
Peta said she expects to be by her daughter’s side for another four to six weeks, and is hopeful that Taylah can be transferred closer to home for further rehabilitation.
“Accommodation like this is extremely important so that I can be here, and be present in Taylah’s day-to-day activities and therapies,” Peta said.
“Having something like this accommodation means she can have family support.
“I’m forever thankful.”
Lorraine Hunt was also among the first to arrive, travelling from Parkes to be with her husband after he collapsed on the family farm.
“This is a lot newer and a lot brighter, and I love the sunshine,” Lorraine said.
“It’s important for hospital to have this kind of accommodation for because it’s very difficult when you travel 5 hours to get here,” Lorraine said.
Lorraine’s daughter Wendy Rix is also staying at the unit.
“It’s nice and private and peaceful,” Wendy said.
“You definitely need that support for the country people because we get a little bit forgotten about.
“People don’t realise how far we have to travel for treatment,” she said.
The complex provides accommodation for patients and family members.
Priority is given to people who live more than 100km from Westmead, and to cancer patients and their families, but other families can be accommodated if there are rooms available.
The units have two beds, kitchen, lounge and dining areas, bathrooms and laundries. There are also accessible units for people with mobility needs.
The refurbishment was delivered as part of the Integrated Mental Health Project by WSLHD and Health Infrastructure.