History of The National Children's Hospital
In 1821 the first children's hospital in Ireland and Great Britain known as the "Pitt Street Institution" was founded. It was the first hospital in Ireland and Britain established specifically for the care and treatment of children and they "sought to improve child and family centred care."1
Dr Charles West who worked in the hospital went on to found Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children in 1852. In 1875 the National Orthopaedic and Children's Hospital was established and it was formally joined with the Pitt Street Institution in 1884. They both moved to "Harcourt Street" in 1887. The stated objective of the hospital at that time was, "to educate mothers and nurses regarding the proper management of children in both health and disease."
From its earliest days, The National Children's Hospital placed strong emphasis on the concept that trained nurses are needed to deliver nursing care. As a result, in 1884, The National Children's Hospital inconjunction with The Meath Hospital and County Dublin Infirmary established the Dublin Red Cross Training School for Nurses which was "the first in Ireland".
In 1965 The National Children's Hospital established "the first Irish paediatric haemotology service".2 The first Bone Marrow Transplant in Ireland was performed by Professor Ian Temperley in the hospital in 1978.
As far back as the 1960's "visiting restrictions were relaxed" and "open visiting" was introduced at the National Children's Hospital. In the 1970's Dr Mervyn Taylor pioneered the "introducion of parent accommodation within the hospital so that parents could stay in hospital with their children."
It was acknowledged that "parents are not visitors" yet in 1972 only nine mothers stayed with their children in hospital that year. By 1985 funding was provided by the Department of Health and Children for a purpose built "Mother and child Unit" which was opened by President Patrick Hilary - a former medical student of the Hospital.
Play was seen as an important element in the welfare of the sick child and therefore books and toys were wheeled around on trolleys daily for selection by children. The first playroon was established in the hospital in 1971.
The first schooling for children was provided at the child's bedside by Mrs O'Riordan in 1966.
Plans for the children's hospital in Tallaght began in the 1980's. The Adelaide and Meath Hospital, incorporating The National Children's Hospital opened on the 21st June 1998 where it remains to-day.
(Photo of entrance to NCH here)
The National Children's Hospital to-day comprises of a children's emergency department, children's x-ray, children's outpatient's department, children's operating theatre and the following ward areas:
Beech Ward: a 16 bedded surgical ward for children aged over 1 year of age requiring managment of conditions such as Ear Nose & Throat (ENT),Orthopaedic and General Surgery.
Beech Day Ward: a 6-bedded unit, with a pre-assessment area, where children requiring surgery and medical investigations/treatment are managed during the day time. Children and young people attending the Day Ward generally go-home on the same day following their surgery or investigations/treatment.
Maple Ward: has 21 cubicles, including 5 parent and child rooms. Children aged 0-1 year requiring management of medical and surgical conditions are generally admitted to Maple Ward. However, children or young people older than 1 year may also be admitted to Maple Ward if their condition requires him/her to be nursed in a single room.
Oak Ward: consists of 19 beds and 3 High Dependency Unit (HDU) beds. Oak ward is the children's medical ward for children older than 12 months of age admitted for management of an acute medical condition such as; respiratory difficulties, asthma, endocrinology, diabetes, neurology, cystic fibrosis and mental health issues. Children and young people of all ages, who are seriously ill, are cared for in the HDU.
Ireland's new National Paediatric Hospital at The Mater site (Eccles Street) is in progress with an expected opening date of 2015. Plans for an Ambulatory and Urgent Care Centre at AMNCH, Tallaght Hospital are expected to start the end of 2012.
"The new children's hospital is to become the national paediatric tertiary centre for inpatient cases, amalgamating the three existing paediatric hospitals;"5 The National Children's Hospital, AMNCH, Tallaght, Our Lady's Children's Hospital Crumlin and The Children's University Hospital, Temple Street.
507 beds in single rooms are planned for the new National Paediatric Hospital with "the building design"extending "over 16 storeys" and "112,000 metres squared" at the Mater site.
The new National Paediatric Hospital promises to be a state of the art facility including a heli-pad on the roof top as well as boasting a modern design of appeal to children with promises of "a therapy park with hydro-pool and gym, play areas, a family resource centre and a hospital school for the children."