Platypus is the long Stay Surgical ward at RCH. It is a 30 Bed specialty surgical unit, caring for patients undergoing General Surgery, Orthopaedic, Plastics and Maxillofacial, Urology and Burns procedures. We are the dedicated burns and trauma unit at the RCH. The Platypus team is a multidisciplinary team. In addition to medical and nursing staff, patients on Platypus have access to occupational therapy, physiotherapy, social work, orthotics, the Child Pain Management Service and teachers. Caring for patients aged from newborn to teenagers, Platypus treats more than 3000 patients per year.
People you may meet
A team of approximately 65 Registered Nurses have the
responsibility of providing child focused and family centred care to children while they are an inpatient on the platypus ward.
The three nursing shifts on the platypus ward are:
0700 am - 0330 pm
0130 pm - 1000 pm
1000 pm - 0730 am
Your child will be allocated a specific nurse for each
shift. This nurse is responsible for planning, coordinating and providing your child’s care. Your child’s nurse will introduce themselves at the beginning of
each shift and encourage you to participate in the planning and implementation
of your child’s daily care. However, as the ward practices a team nursing
approach when appropriate, you may encounter several nurses throughout each
shift assisting in your child’s care. The ward is divided into pods, and each
pod has two or three nurses. You can call on any of these nurses for assistance
by pressing the call button on the remote control in your room. A nurse will
come as soon as possible. Please speak to a nurse immediately if you are
concerned about your child.
Associate Unit Manager
The AUM is also referred to as the ‘nurse in charge’. The
Platypus ward has several AUMs and many more nurse who act in this role. Each shift
has a new AUM that will co-ordinate admissions, discharges and transfers. Although
the AUM does not have their own allocated patients, unless it is a night shift,
they are responsible for each patient on the ward. The AUM also offers support
to the nurses caring for patients. If you have concerns or questions your
allocated nurses has not been able to assist with, please feel free to request to
speak the AUM.
Nurse Unit Manager
It is the NUM’s role to manage the ward. This includes the
day-to-day running of the ward, the human resource management of staff,
managing the ward budget, managing OH&S and infection control practices and
maintaining the quality of care the ward provides. The NUM also maintains relationships
with clinical and non-clinical areas to ensure a positive working environment.
It is also the NUM’s responsibility to address concerns or issues from patients
and their families when the allocated nurse and AUM have been unable to do so.
Each Platypus speciality has an assigned nurse coordinator
to help coordinate the care of children child with complex needs and for those
who experience a long admission. They are used as a single point of reference
for the family, as well as members of the multi-disciplinary team caring for
these children. They are also able to assist the allocated nurse with educating
parents regarding their child’s condition and co-ordinate patient discharges.
Clinical Support Nurse (CSN)
Also known as educators, clinical support nurses are
responsible for the clinical support of nursing staff. They assist nurses on
the ward, while ensure nursing staff remain educated on current nursing
practices. They also ensure nurses practice in an evidence-based way and liaise
with the entire nursing and multi-disciplinary team to provide support and guidance at the bedside.
These nurses are specialists in a variety of areas including
burns and pain management.
A team of doctors will manage your child’s medical care and
will be responsible for all treatments and investigations. Each patient will be
under the care of a consultant who is a qualified paediatrician and/or a
specialist in their field.
Each consultant will have a registrar and a resident working
alongside them. Both are qualified doctors who are completing further training.
The registrar and resident will see your child most often and will complete
physical assessments and order medications and tests.
Fellows are doctors who have completed a number of years as
a registrar and are soon to become a consultant.
The doctors will visit once or twice a day during ward
round, and they will review and assess your child’s condition and discuss plans
for care or discharge. Ask your child’s nurse if you wish to speak to a doctor
at any other time.
One or more of the following allied health staff may visit
to support your child’s treatment and recovery:
Specialists in nutrition, dietitians give recommendations
for supplements and modified diets. Dietitians also offer feeding advice for
infants, children and young people
Movement specialists who assess, diagnose and treat children
to facilitate recovery and assist function. Physiotherapists helps to promote
full participation in daily activities through physical therapy and health
Occupational therapists are specialists in children’s daily
occupation of play, self-care and productivity in their school and work tasks.
They assist patients in their transition from hospital to home, community and
Professionally trained staff who support children and their
families when illness impacts on family life. Social work services are free,
confidential and available to all.
Social workers offer counselling and assistance when dealing with a
child’s illness, and support families in crisis. They can assist when
communicating with medical staff and act as advocates for patients and their
families. Social workers facilitate connections to community resources and
provide education on family issues and child health.
Specialists in speech, language and voice problems as well
as swallowing or feeding difficulties.
The people who look after all medication matters while your
child is in hospital and make necessary medication arrangements for discharge.
Our pharmacists visit the wards on weekdays, or you can talk to them in the
Educational play therapists child development experts who ensure that life remains as normal
as possible across the hospital environment for children and young people. The
educational play therapy team promotes effective coping-in-hospital strategies
through play, self-expression activities and developmentally appropriate
medical preparation and procedural support
Music therapists are proficient musicians who undertake a
course accredited with the Australian Music Therapy Association. They provide
clinical music therapy services to infants, children and adolescents with a
range of medical conditions. At the RCH, patients are referred to music therapy
to receive treatment support, mental health support, and/or neurodevelopment
The education Institute provides educational support to
patients to ensure their education continues in hospital. Teachers engage
students in learning experiences with a rich arts focus and strong links to
literacy and numeracy. They also support children and young people when it’s
time to return to kindergarten or school.
Other people who may
The ward clerk is stationed at the front of the ward and is
often the first person you will meet. A ward clerk’s role is to provide
direction and assist with any queries you may have. They have a great deal of
knowledge about the hospital and life on the ward and are happy to assist
patients and families. No question is too small or too silly. If you ask a
question they don’t know the answer to, they will find someone who can help.
They do a lot of the day-day administration of the ward, including keeping your
child’s records up to date. Please let the ward clerk know if any of your
personal information changes.
A menu monitor will visit each morning with the menu for the
next day and discuss and specific food requirements your child may have. Menu
monitors also visit all new admissions who have been identified by ward staff
as having complex food allergies. They will discuss good allergen management
procedures, and will assist parents in selecting the most appropriate and safe
diet for their child.
The menu monitor will then compete the Allergy Menu Option
form that documents your child’s allergy.
The RCH’s team of dedicated volunteers support and assist
nursing staff by spending time with patients whose or carers are absent, making
the patients stay at the RCH as comfortable as possible. Volunteers are a
wonderful resource for learning about activities happening around the hospital
or services that may be useful to you. Please speak to your ward clerk if you
would like a volunteer to visit and support you or your child during your stay.
Hospitals are full of sick patients, and there is a high
risk of infection for other patients, parents and visitors. It is vital that
everyone works hard to prevent the spread of germs. The best way to do this is
by washing your hands regularly and using the hand sanitiser gel provided
throughout the ward. Please ensure you gel your hands before entering and
leaving a patient room and ensure you wash your hands before and after
preparing or eating food and attending to personal and patient hygiene.
Children who have an
infectious illness will have special signs outside their room instructing
visitors that they need to wear gowns and masks. Please adhere to these guidelines
and ask your child’s nurse for help if you are uncertain of what to do
If your child is infectious, it is important to limit the
number of visitors who come to see them. Walking around the ward or to other
areas of the hospital can expose other people to infection, so your child
should try to stay in their room as much as possible.
When we admit your child, they will have an identification
(ID) band attached around their wrist or ankle. The information on the band
includes the patient’s name, date of birth, their unique RCH record number (or
UR number), and a barcode. A red ID band indicates your child needs an
additional alert regarding allergies. Many different nursing, medical and
allied health staff will care for your child throughout their stay and will
routinely scan your child’s ID band to confirm the patient’s information.
Your child will not
be able to receive treatment while in hospital if they do not have an ID band
It is essential to wear an ID band at all times, so please
speak with nursing staff if your child does not have one.
Visitors are very welcome and are wonderful for company and
distraction. Please remind family and friends that patients require lots of
rest to recuperate and ask they observe visiting hours.
Visiting Hours on
Click here for up-to-date visitor guidelines. Some restrictions on visitor numbers are in place due to
COVID-19 – please check carefully before you visit.
Ward rounds, surgery
and medical imaging
Every day, doctors visit the wards to see their patients.
Our doctors are friendly and approachable and will welcome your input and
questions. It can be helpful to write down any questions you think of to ask
when the doctor visits. You might like to use the room’s communication board to
jot down your questions. If issues arise, your child’s nurse can contact the
doctors at any time.
Remember, you are a vital member of your child’s care team,
so please participate as fully as you can during ward rounds and ongoing
While in hospital, your child might need to have a surgical
procedure. Surgery usually means having to fast (nothing at all to drink) and
being taken to the operating theatre on level 3. You will meet your child’s
surgeon, anaesthetist and the theatre staff, who will explain in detail what
will happen. When your child wakes up after the operation they will stay in the
recovery room close to the operating theatres for a length of time. Once they
are awake and as comfortable as they can be, they will go back to their room on
the Platypus ward.
Throughout the admission, your child may also have
appointments with Medical Imaging on the lower ground floor. They may need to
have X-rays, scans or other investigations performed to ensure that their
recovery after surgery is coming along as anticipated.
But we just got here! Yes, we understand that it might seem
a little strange that discharge planning starts as soon as your child arrives,
but to make sure your child can go home as soon as possible we need to work
together from the moment you arrive.
Going home is a
critical process that is managed carefully to ensure that your child is safe
and that you can continue to manage any ongoing treatment carefully,
Throughout your child’s stay, we will be working with you to
achieve a safe discharge. If medications or treatments are continuing when you
get home, participate with your child’s nurse in performing these procedures as
often as you can during the stay so that you feel confident to manage when you
go home. The ward pharmacist and nursing staff can provide education and
written information on administering your child’s medications. If you have any
concerns about your ability to manage any aspect of your child’s condition,
please raised these early with your child’s nurse and care manager
Before you leave, carefully check the room to ensure that
none of your personal belongings are left behind. If required, a certificate of
attendance can be issued at the time of discharge.
Kitchen and Food
Food for patients
The ward pantry is near the main entrance of the ward. The
Kitchen and refrigerator are strictly for patient’s food only. Food for
parents, siblings or visitors must not be storied in this area. Inappropriate
foods will be removed to ensure compliance with the hospitals Food Safety
The fridge in the ward pantry has bread, spreads, snacks and
drinks. This food is provided for patients use only and is not for parents,
siblings or visitors. If you require anything extra for your child, please ask
your child’s nurse or ward clerk and they can send a request to the main
kitchen. Children with food allergies should not be offered foods from the ward
pantry, and all additional food requests for these children must be directed to
the main kitchen.
To maintain hygiene
standards, please wash your hands at the basin or use hand sanitiser gel each
time you enter the pantry or handle food.
The ward freezer is available only for the storage of Icy
Poles. If collecting ice from the ward freezer ice machine, please take extra
care that you do not accidently unlock the temperature setting.
Do not make tea and coffee in the ward panty due to the
potential risk of burn of scald injuries to patients. Additionally, using the
ward pantry in this way does not comply with the RCH’s Food Safety Policy.
Please only use the facilities provided in the parent lounge for making tea and
The hospital’s main kitchen will provide all of your child’s
meals during their stay. Children with food allergies, therapeutic diets (eg
diabetes, coeliac disease) and/or religious or cultural beliefs (kosher or
halal meals) will receive meals and foods consistent with these dietary
requirements. Please tell your nurse if your child has any special dietary
Each day, fill out the menu and leave it above the door
number at the entrance to your child’s room.
Meals are distributed around the following times each day
A food service assistant will deliver the meal tray to your
child’s room. It is important that they correctly identify your child before
leaving the meal tray to ensure that each child receives the correct meal. If a
parent is not present or your child is too young, your child’s nurse will be
asked to provide confirmation, or the meal will not be left.
To comply with the hospitals Food Safety Policy, the food
service assistant will return to collect the meal tray one hour after delivery.
Non-perishable items can be retained, but all other foods must be collected at
this time. If your child is still
hungry, you can find additional food items in the ward pantry. An afternoon tea
trolley visits patients around 3pm.
If your child needs to fast for a period before a medical
procedure, your nurse will tell you. It’s really important to strictly follow
these instructions so that testes or procedures are not delayed. Please do not
offer food or drinks to other children on the ward in case they are fasting or
Bringing meals for patient’s in hospital
The RCH strongly recommends children admitted to hospital do
not consume meals brought from home or outside suppliers (takeaway) during
their stay. Preparing, cooking, transporting and reheating food can cause
harmful bacteria to grow, putting your child at risk of becoming very unwell.
If you bring meals from home or outside suppliers, they must
adhere to the following rules:
- All meals must be refrigerated immediately after
preparation and transported with an ice pack in an insulated food carry bag or
Esky. Food transported at room temperature is more likely to allow bacteria to
grown that will make your child unwell.
- All meals must be eaten immediately after they
arrive. A microwave is available in the ward pantry kitchen for reheating
meals. The meals should be heated through evenly, consumed immediately and not
- Do not store pre-prepared meals in the ward
pantry fridge for later use
- If your child does not finish the meal, the
leftovers must be thrown out. Partially eaten meals of leftovers cannot be
stored in the fridge and will be discarded by hospital staff
- Staff will not be involved in the preparation,
handling and provision of meals brought in from home or external sources
Bringing in items for
patients that require refrigeration
Perishable, single serve, sealed items (eg. yoghurts,
drinks, custards) can be brought into the hospital if they meet the following
- They must be stored in the ward pantry fridge.
No other hospital food is to be used.
- All items must have a label with your child’s
name and the date using labels made by nursing staff
- Any opened item must be consumed or discarded
and must not be returned to the ward pantry fridge. Staff will discard any items found in the ward pantry fridge which
do not meet these guidelines
Bringing in snack
foods for patients
Non-perishable items (eg muesli bars, uncut fresh fruit,
dried fruit or biscuits can be brought in from external sources.
- These items can be stored at your child’s
Food for families
Although the RCH does not supply food or beverages for
parents, siblings or visitors, you will find tea and coffee making supplies and
items for breakfast (including cereal, milk, bread and spreads) in the parent
lounge near the ward. You are also welcome to supply your own food and drink when
your child is in hospital.
A communal refrigerator is available for general food
storage in the parent lounge located near the entry to the ward. You can store
your own homemade or purchased food in this fridge. Please take note of the
- This food cannot be offered to your child who is
the patient in hospital
- All food must be in containers and labelled
clearly with your family name, child’s room number and date you placed the item
in the fridge. Labels and a pen are available.
- Any unlabelled food or food left for more than
three days will be thrown out.
- Before discharge, or after three days, please
remove the food you have stored in the fridge. The fridge is cleaned and the
contents reviewed regularly.
- Take care to collect and special containers
you’ve bought from home so they aren’t accidently thrown out.
- There is a separate parent freezer located in
the ward pantry, where you can store frozen meals for families. Please ensure
you label this food with your name and the date. Strictly no hospital foods,
including ice cream, are to be stored in this freezer
The parent lounge is located off the main corridor when you
first enter the ward. You will find a fridge, chairs, a dining table, tea and
coffee making facilities and a small kitchenette. Please feel free to make
yourself at home and relax in these facilities, as it is important to take time
out to look after yourself when your child is in hospital.
Donated food may sometimes be available in the parent
lounge. This food has been provided externally to the RCH and is not covered by
our Food Safety Policy. This food should not be offered to patients, but only
consumed by parents and siblings as intended.
Thankyou for cleaning up after yourself when using the
parent lounge or ward pantry. Although we have cleaning staff they are limited
in number and have great demands on their time. Please do not wash your dishes
in the sink. Rather, rinse and place all items in the dishwasher provided to
ensure that they are cleaned and sanitised correctly.
There are some cafes, a convenience store and a supermarket
on the ground floor of the hospital if you need to purchase food. You are
welcome to bring this back to your child’s ward, being mindful of the previous
guidelines. Please be aware that consuming alcohol is not permitted in any part
of the RCH including parent accommodation areas, parent lounges, the Family Hub
or outdoor or garden space.\
Nappies and continence
Supplies of newborn, junior, crawler and toddler-sized
nappies and Molicare continence pads are available, so please ask a nurse for
what your child needs. Nappy disposal bags and bins are in the utility room.
Your child’s nurse will let you know if nappies or continence pads need to be
weighed for fluid observation before disposal.
The RCH actively supports and promotes breastfeeding. Your
supply of breastmilk can be particularly vulnerable when your baby is sick, so
our staff will work with you to maintain your supply and optimise breastfeeding
while your child is in hospital
Ward Formula Room
The ward formula room is in the main entrance of the ward.
Here you will find bottle warmers, expressing kits, breast pumps, feeding teats
and empty green-capped bottles for storing expressed breast milk (EBM). There
is also a fridge where you can store EBM and/or formula. Fortified EBM and
formula are prepared and delivered to this fridge between 2pm-3pm each day from
the central formula room. Look through the fridge’s glass door to find your
child’s feed before opening and ensure the door is closed properly after use.
Please return all feeding bottles and teats to the ward
formula room after use. They will be collected each day and returned to the
central formula room for cleaning and sanitising. Please do not take the
bottles home. Water in the bottle warmer needs to be discarded after every use
to avoid cross-contamination between feeds.
Please visit our Parent Information page for helpful resources.