Allied Health departments work together with the medical and nursing teams across a diverse range of clinical areas to provide multidisciplinary care to children and families on an inpatient, outpatient and outreach basis. Specialty clinics service Hunter New England Local Health District, whereas general clinics cover greater Newcastle.
Services provided by Allied Health
Social workers provide families with emotional support, information, advice and practical help when children come to hospital. Ask your nurse or doctor if you want to talk to a social worker.
Occupational Therapy (OT)
Occupational Therapy focuses on maximising participation and independence in everyday living skills. For children, this includes play, self-care, going to and participating in school, sport, leisure and learning skills. If a child is having difficulty in their daily occupations, i.e. self-care, school learning, play, etc. an OT can provide assessment and possible therapy, including management to address the difficulties presented.
Nutrition and Dietetics
Dieticians provide assessment and counselling for infants, children, adolescents and their families on general and specific nutritional concerns through an inpatient and outpatient basis. Specialty teams include diabetes/ endocrinology, oncology, neonatal, cystic fibrosis, food allergy, gastroenterology, home enteral nutrition and feeding difficulties related to medical conditions. General nutrition referrals include iron deficiency, failure to thrive and severe childhood obesity.
John Hunter Children's Hospital Speech Pathology department provides an inpatient service to paediatric wards at the Hospital, including general medical and surgical wards, oncology, adolescents, neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), and paediatric beds in the intensive care unit at John Hunter Hospital. Assessment and treatment of speech, language, and swallowing disorders is provided for acute and rehabilitation patients.
The Speech Pathology department also provides an outpatient service to the following specialised client groups:
- Children 0-18 years from northern NSW presenting with cleft lip / palate and velopharyngeal disorders. This is tertiary referral consultative service
- Children with complex dysphagia requiring specialist consultative and therapeutic services. May include multidisciplinary feeding clinics or individual treatment.
- Children with acquired neurological problems, including acquired brain injury (ABI)
- A Modified Barium Swallow (MBS) service is provided by the Speech Pathology Department in conjunction with the Radiology Department. A palato-videofluoroscopy (PVF) procedure is also offered to children with velopharyngeal incompetence (VPI). This is a specialist diagnostic procedure conducted in conjunction with the Paediatric Radiologist.
Paediatric Physiotherapists specialise in the treatment of respiratory, orthopaedic and neurological disorders of infancy and childhood. We also treat children with developmental delay and disability. We will accept children aged from birth to 18 years.
Referral to the Paediatric Physiotherapy department at John Hunter Children's Hospital can be made by a:
- Child health Nurse
- Specialist doctor such as Paediatrician or Paediatric Specialist
- Other health professional such as Physiotherapist or Occupational Therapist
The Psychology Department provides a multidisciplinary assessment / diagnostic service for children with specific learning difficulties, covering neuropsychology, speech pathology, occupational therapy and medical problems. Assessments aim to identify specific reasons for delays in learning and recommend appropriate intervention programs and strategies.
Clients can be referred by a school counsellor accompanied by a referral questionnaire that must be completed in full. Other referrers should check whether school-based assessment options have been exhausted prior to referral.
Clients must be attending school or an approved alternative and they must be functioning normally in most areas except specific areas of schooling such as reading, maths or writing. Where the main concern relates to behaviour or attention, consider referral to Child & Family Health Team or CAMHS.
Neuropsychological assessment for children and adolescents
Assessments cover memory, attention, executive function, verbal and non-verbal abilities, behaviour and emotional adjustment where there is acquired brain injury or effects on cognitive function, behaviour or schoolwork due to medical conditions or their treatment. Assessments are designed to assist in understanding the child's strengths and weaknesses and in managing and rehabilitating areas of weakness.
Music, Art and Child Life Therapy
Music, Art and Child Life Therapy aim to provide creative therapeutic interventions that empower children, young people and their families to be partners in their care. Non-threatening child-centred experiences develop trust and are individually designed to promote self-expression and growth, optimising potential for wellbeing.
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Making an appointment
Referrals for allied health require a referral from a health professional involved in your child's care. This includes GP's, Paediatricians, early childhood nurses and other allied health professionals and specialty teams. Specialist referrals from the hospital will receive priority.
Paediatric Allied Health enquiries can be made via the John Hunter Hospital switchboard on (02)49 213000.
Please ask for the paediatric allied health department and the discipline you would like to speak with.