Seriously-ill teenagers are often the most socially isolated young people due to their hospitalisation. Adolescents represent one in three of all admissions to paediatric hospitals, yet there are very few age appropriate programs specifically designed to cater for their social, emotional and psychological development.
The Starlight Children's Foundation provides unique and innovative programs to restore what serious illness, treatment and hospitalisation takes away; opportunities for young people to connect with others their own age and to retain their sense of identity and individuality.
Starlight's unique Livewire program was developed to transform the hospital experience of young people into a more positive one by providing ward-based activities, special workshops and a space for them to connect with peers, explore new interests and enhance their skills.
Led by professional facilitators during special adolescent-only sessions, the program features a range of creative activities and peer support sessions to enhance the resilience, wellbeing and personal development of adolescents.
Following the success of our initial three-year partnership, in 2014 we announced an additional year of funding to help expand the Livewire program and increase its depth of engagement to meet growing demand.
The new funding will allow Starlight to meet the needs of adolescent patients at current program hospitals and to better support young people as they transition between hospital and home during their illness. This will be achieved through the development and integrating of a safe and supportive online community (livewire.org.au) with Livewire in-hospital that will help young people continue accessing support as they move between hospital and home.
To date, Livewire has created over 46,000 connections with hospitalised adolescents around Australia. The program has also facilitated the participation of young people in more than 800 arts, music, multimedia, creative writing, culinary, and recreation workshops.
Through our partnership, Livewire has now been rolled out at the following six major specialist paediatric hospitals across the country:
- Princess Margaret Hospital, Perth
- Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne
- The Children's Hospital, Westmead
- Sydney Children's Hospital, Randwick
- Queensland Children's Hospital, Brisbane
- John Hunter Hospital, Newcastle
The program which helps participants through a difficult time in their lives has also gained the overwhelming support of hospital staff, young people and their families.
More info: www.starlightchildrensfoundation