Big Red Bus stops by Royal North Shore ‘home’
“I’ve been thinking of going on a holiday up there but I’ve got a lot of restrictions,” he said. “I wasn’t feeling very well at all before I started dialysis, but now I feel I’m on top of it all. Once I go up there and I like it, I’ll probably just follow the bus around.” Nurse Colleen Smart said working on the bus wasn’t just rewarding for patients, but for staff as well. “It gives patients some normality in their lives, they’re able to go on a holiday and visit a destination they wouldn’t normally be able to,” she said. “They so appreciate it and it’s so fulfilling as a nurse to be able to provide it for the patients. It’s fantastic to see everyone in a really good mood.”
Elvio Spaliviero and Colleen Smart aboard the Big Red Kidney Bus
The Big Red Kidney Bus has made its first stop for 2020, pulling up at Royal North Shore Hospital offering dialysis services to patients visiting from across the state. A joint initiative between the hospital and Kidney Health Australia, the bus began operating in 2016 and has proven a hit with dialysis patients, giving them the freedom to take extended holidays away from their usual place of treatment. Mr Bojangles cheers up rehab patients at Ryde Every other Friday, patients and staff at Ryde’s Graythwaite Rehabilitation Centre excitedly await a special visitor – Mr Bojangles the therapy briard. Bojangles has been visiting the centre since 2018 with Delta Society’s Therapy Dogs Program. His signature trick involves perching up on a
This year the bus will be calling into locations like Coffs Harbour, Ballina, Umina and Nelson Bay. North Narrabeen resident Elvio Spaliviero was trialling the bus with his eyes on using it when it makes a pitstop in Port Macquarie later this year. He said it’s been 18 months since his last holiday, and he was looking forward to the bus making it possible again.
Mr Bojangles puts smiles on faces during his fortnightly visits
chair next to patients to get into a prime patting position. The Therapy Dog Program provides a positive impact on patients’ social, emotional and physiological health. Shane, a rehabilitation
patient at Graythwaite, experienced this first-hand. “Mr Bojangles made my day. He is magnificent – really lovely. It’s a very good memory to take home with me,” Shane said.
4 NSLHDNEWS | ISSUE 1| 31 JANUARY 2020
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