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Starlight Children’s Foundation:
Fun Centres

What

Starlight Fun Centres are purpose-built mobile entertainment units which can be wheeled to the bedside of hospitalised children in paediatric wards around Australia. Children can choose from a huge selection of movies or Nintendo games, or can opt to listen to a CD or watch a DVD of their choice. Starlight Fun Centres are one of the few “24/7” entertainment options available to children who are confined to their bed.

Why

There are over 600,000 child admissions to hospitals across Australia every year. When a child is in hospital they are often in pain, lonely and bored. Starlight Fun Centres bring much needed distraction, entertainment and fun. Even late into the night, when children can’t sleep due to their illness, or during difficult or painful treatments, they can watch their favourite movies, play games, escape their surroundings and forget their pain. This is particularly important in remote hospitals that often lack the resources of city hospitals.

How

In consultation with hospital staff it was agreed that Starlight would provide one Fun Centre for every 8 paediatric beds per hospital across the whole of Australia.

Outcomes

With assistance from the Caledonia Foundation, the Starlight Children’s Foundation has rolled out nine Fun Centres in remote and rural areas (listed below).

Further, in August 2008 The Caledonia Foundation provided catalytic funding for prototype development for the second avatar of the Starlight Foundation Fun Centres, plus additional funding towards the upgrade of the ten previously supported Fun Centres in remote and rural areas.

  • NT – Gove and Tenant Creek
  • NSW – Manning River Base Hospital and Condobolin Hospital
  • VIC – Echuca Regional Health Hospital, Western District Health Service, Hamilton, South West Healthcare, Warnambool and Mildura Base Hospital
  • QLD – Caboolture (x 2)

Impact

Starlight Fun Centres are much loved by patients and staff alike, particularly in regional hospitals or those with limited resources and alternative forms of distraction or entertainment. Their use has now been extended to emergency wards and other treatment areas as the distraction they provide can encourage children to comply with important treatments such as blood tests and injections. They are now an integral part of hospital life.

Testimonials from health professionals:

"They are the most amazing thing to ever be given to the paediatric ward. It is something that is there for the kids day in, day out. It is there when needed. And the kids love them.” – Focus Group with Regional Health Professionals, NSW (2007)

“They are adored by children and you can just see the look of relief on the face of mum or dad - it gives them a chance to relax because the child is occupied. On home visits the nurse is often asked about them ‘I want to come back to hospital so I can use the Fun Centre again!’” – Health Professional, Vic (2007)

Partner Statement – Alex Green, The Starlight Foundation

“The Caledonia Foundation’s support has been vital to the placement of Fun Centres in remote hospitals across Australia. Their partnership has helped Starlight change the hospital experience of countless seriously ill and injured kids from regional and remote areas.”

- Alex Green – National Strategy Manager, Starlight Children’s Foundation

Links to further web resources: