The last ward of Kiama Hospital has closed without ceremony, with the patients relocated to Shellharbour Private Hospital’s new Kiama Ward.
“The ward is more compact than the ward at Kiama but staff are adjusting to that,” says Julie Stokes of the Kiama Hospital Auxiliary.
The old hospital building is continuing to house the outpatient and community health services until the new building at the front of the Bonaira St site is ready for occupation. This is expected to be by Christmas.
Given the important role that the hospital played in the life of our community, the Auxiliary is hopeful that some sort of event can be held there before the building is pulled down. Discussions are being held with Council on how this can happen.
The Auxiliary is also lobbying for the hours of the new bus service to Shellharbour Private to be changed to suit the needs of patients and their carers.
“The proposed service has passengers arriving at the hospital in time for visiting hours starting at 3pm [the time Shellharbour Private’s visiting hours start]; however, the Kiama Ward’s visiting hours start at 11am and many visitors want to arrive in time to assist with the patients’ lunches.
“As it is primarily a rehab and respite ward, many patients are unable to open drink and food containers, or even to feed themselves, so this is an important aspect of having visitors there at mealtimes,” says Julie. The late timing of the trip home is also inconvenient for many.