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Information for parents in the Cardiac and Renal Unit

  • The Koala Ward provides care for children with both cardiac and renal conditions. At times we also receive patients from other specialties. Our ward has 24 beds. 90% of patients rooms are single-bedded, increasing privacy, reducing noise and improving infection control within the ward. The children cared for come from Victoria, other states and territories in Australia, and from overseas. The continual review of surgical procedures, diagnostic techniques and nursing practice enable us to maintain medical treatment and nursing care comparable to that of other centres of excellence worldwide.

    Koala Ward contact numbers

    Ward clerk
    Telephone 9345 5702

    Hospital switchboard
    Telephone 9345 5522


    Koala Ward Routines and Requests

    Visiting hours

    Royal Children Hospital's visiting hours are between 10am - 12pm and 2pm - 7.30pm. Parents and guardians are welcome to visit at any time, and are encouraged to stay overnight by the bedside.

    Quiet time

    Please note however, that Koala has a 'Quiet Time' between 12pm and 2pm.  During these hours we restrict procedures required, visitors (including siblings) and general noise overall. Only parents are allowed at this time to encourage a time of rest for all patients, which is important for recovery. Please help us to keep this period of time as a period of rest for all patients, including your own child.

    Doctor's rounds

    Cardiac rounds occur from approximately 8.30am - 9.30am. Parents may remain at patient's bedside however this is not the case in the Intensive care unit.

    Renal rounds are less specific and occur generally before lunchtime.


    *Breakfast: 7.30am  *Lunch: 11.30am  *Dinner: 4.30pm P.S.A.'s will speak with you and your child to determine meal preferences and will bring the chosen menu to your child at the listed times. Between meals, the kitchen always has drinks and snacks available such as lemonade, juice, cordial, biscuits, fruit and ice cream.

    Section/room restrictions

    Please keep your chair and belongings on the opposite side of the bed to your child's oxygen and suction unit. Medical and Nursing staff may require this equipment urgently at some time during your child's stay and also frequently for physiotherapy purposes.

    Each inpatient room has facilities for one parent to stay. If you intend to stay, please bring a sleeping bag or linen and a pillow. Alternatively, we are able to supply linen for you. Please store the linen in the drawer under your bed to use the following night. Parents are able to use the ensuite. Please reuse your towel

    Please restrict the consumption of food and drinks by parents and visitors as often patients are fasting or fluid restricted. Secondly, hot drinks in the ward lead to an unsafe environment.

    About the staff

    Medical staff

    Director of Cardiology

    A/Prof Michael Cheung

    Deputy Director 

    Dr Bryn Jones


    Prof Jim Wilkinson
    Prof Rob Weintraub
    A/Prof. Andrew Davis
    Dr Geoff Lane
    Dr Andreas Pflaumer
    Dr Remi Kowalski
    Dr Lucas Eastaugh
    Dr Bennett Sheridan

    Dr Jacob Matthew

    Dr Darren Hutchinson

    Director of Cardiac Surgery

    A/Prof Christian Brizard

    Cardiac Surgeons

    A/Prof Yves D'udekem
    Prof Igor Konstantinov

    Dr Johann Brink

    Renal Unit Medical Staff

    Director of Renal unit

    Dr Joshua Kausman

    Within Koala there is one medical registrar and two medical residents allocated to cardiac patients and either one registrar or resident allocated to renal patients. After hours, and on weekends the roles of these doctors are allocated to a specialty registrar and resident who are updated on your child's care regularly. The medical staff are available to answer questions about the day to day management of your child's care. These doctors rotate around the hospital on a three monthly basis. The listed consultants are available to talk to parents on an appointment basis and often on the morning ward round.

    Nursing staff

    Nursing staff are the primary care givers to your child. Any questions you have regarding your child's care should be directed to the nurse looking after your child.

    There are approximately sixty nursing staff who work on a rotational roster, with a patient ratio of one nurse to one or two patients. Nursing staff on Koala are Registered Nurses, with some nurses qualified as Associate Unit Managers, Clinical Nurse Specialists and Clinical Facilitators. The senior nurses have a broader range of nursing experience and support other Registered Nurses within the ward when required.  Koala also employs Graduate Registered Nurses (Nurses in their first year after graduating from University) who are guided closely by Clinical facilitators and fellow staff.

    Nurse Unit Manager (NUM) - Allison Ellis

    The Nurse Unit Manager is available to discuss any issues you may have Monday to Friday.

    Associate Nurse Unit Managers (ANUM)

    There is an ANUM on duty 24 hours a day.  They are available to discuss any issues you may have at all times.

    Interdisciplinary staff

    Care managers

    These Registered nurses coordinate the care of long-term and more complex patients. This involves working with fellow nurses, and doctors, to ensure patients with more complex conditions and requirements receive the additional care they need to promote a speedy recovery. Care managers support both patients and families during admission.

    Clinical facilitator

    Provides support and education to staff to ensure the highest level of care is given to your child.

    Lactation consultants

    Provide specialist information and assistance with breastfeeding and expressing breast milk. Available Monday to Friday.

    Education institute

    Teachers support school-age children and siblings with their educational needs. They liase with your child's school both during admission and on discharge.

    Social workers

    Social Workers are available to see any family during a child's hospitalization. They can offer both emotional and practical support, such as financial assistance and community links. can be discussed with social workers on a daily basis. Social workers can be contacted through the nursing staff.

    Preadmission clinic nurse (for cardiac patients only)

    The pre-admission clinic nurse assists patients and their families with admission and preoperation formalities, parent/patient education and coordination of all medical tests required before treatment/surgery. Visits to the Intensive Care Unit are arranged for both parents and patients.

    Patient service assistants (PSA)

    Patient service assistants are allocated several roles within Koala. They are responsible for serving meals to patients, assisting with errands required by nursing and medical staff, and attending to the cleanliness of Koala. They are happy to assist you when necessary.

    Interdisciplinary team staff


    The physiotherapist plays an important role in your child's recovery, particularly in the postoperative period. They are generally more involved in cardiac patient care and often meet with and assess your child prior to surgery.


    A dietician is available to discuss your child's feeding plan and dietary requirements.

    Play therapists

    Play therapists provide a program of educational and recreational activities to assist your child in recovery, and to meet developmental needs. They can also provide diversion during procedures.

    Music therapists

    Music therapists are available upon request for individual patients of all ages and often for group activities. They provide live entertainment, involving patients in musical presentations, as well as taped music which is carefully selected with the help of parents.


    Several volunteers work on Koala to provide additional help with patient care. For example, they assist the play therapists and help to comfort babies.


    Pastoral and Spiritual Care offers support for individuals and families. The care offered is non-religious, unless specifically requested. Prayer  and Meditation Murrup Biik is a calm welcoming space for prayer, meditation or quiet reflection for people of all or no faith.


    A confidential interpreter service is available 24 hours, interpreters are available within the hospital to assist non-English speaking families. Their hours are from 8.30 am to 6 pm, seven days a week. There is also an on-call service available if required.

    Koala Additional facilities

    Parent waiting room

    This room is available for 24 hour use by parents, however it is generally used as a waiting room during the day whilst patients are undergoing surgery. There is a television, microwave, coffee making facilities and refrigerator available for your use, and it is expected that parents keep this area clean and tidy.

    Expressing room

    This room is available on a 24 hour basis for mothers to express breast milk. Portable expressing units are also available for use in your child's room. Expressed breast milk that is in excess of your baby's requirements can be stored in the Formula room.

    Hospital facilities


    If the distance you live from the hospital precludes you from travelling to and from home each day, a variety of accommodation is available nearby. It is suggested that prior to your child's admission you make arrangements for accommodation. The hospital has limited parent accommodation facilities. It is not possible to book the hospital parent accommodation in advance, but you can request it on the day of admission, between 9am - 10am, by phoning Ronald McDonald House, Parent Accommodation - 9345 5359, or by contacting the social work department. Preference is always given to breastfeeding mothers and there is a charge for hospital accommodation. There is also a post-natal Mother's Unit available for mothers and their partner, for care immediately post-birth.

    The nursing staff are able to inquire if there is any hospital accommodation when your child is admitted, but they are not responsible for arranging your accommodation.

    Toilet facilities

    Public toilets and accessible toilets for people with disabilities are located in all areas of the hospital. 

    5th Floor parent accommodation unit facilities.

    It is possible to use laundry and showering facilities in this unit, even if you do not have actual accommodation there. Nursing staff are available to direct you to this destination.


    External telephone calls cannot be made from inpatient room telephones. However, you are able to receive incoming calls. Public telephones are located in Main Street and Emergency. Phone cards are available from the chemist shop on Main Street.


    If your child requires hospitalization for a period lasting longer than three days, a nurse or social worker can provide you with a card that entitles you to discounted parking rates. Any parking infringements that occur while your child is in the hospital, should be discussed with your social worker.

    Sibling child care

    Qualified staff provide child care for siblings from 9am -3pm, Monday to Friday. To ask further questions please contact 9345 6795.

    Community resources


    Tram to city via Elizabeth Street: Numbers 59, 57 Tram to city via William Street: Number 58


    Victoria Market
    Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday
    Sunday for clothing, footwear and gifts etc.
    Corner Victoria Street and Elizabeth Street, Melbourne

    Shopping centre - within 15 minutes walk of Hospital via Errol Street. Post Office, Supermarkets, etc.

    Vegetables, fruit, meat, clothing and miscellaneous items

     A more detailed booklet on shopping, eating and recreation facilities is available from the Social Work Department.

    Welfare services and entitlements

    Disability allowance

    This allowance may be available to parents of children with a congenital heart defect. It is to assist with costs incurred for treatment of the child's condition, and any costs involved in regular hospital attendances. It is paid by the Department of Social Security in conjunction with Family Allowance. Your social worker will advise you on your eligibility.

    Victorian Patient Transport Assistance Scheme (V.P.T.A.S.)

    If you live more than 100km away from the hospital, you may be eligible for travel and accommodation assistance from the Victorian Patient Transport Assistance Scheme (VPTAS).

    Claim forms are available from the RCH’s Family Hub, clinic desks and Main Street Reception, or you can  download the form here.

    Your medical specialist will need to complete some sections of the form before you can claim.

    Equivalent schemes are available in each state for interstate residents.

    For more information, ask a RCH staff member or visit  the Department of Health website.

    Home help

    This is available from municipal councils for families. Families in receipt of Disability Allowance are also eligible for Special Home Help Service that provides a trained care-giver to enable parents some relief, and time to attend to other family matters.