Wairarapa Hospital charge nurse manager Tess Geard, left, with Warwick Delmonte and Kalli Hooper. PHOTO/ SUPPLIED

CAL ROBERTS
cal.roberts@age.co.nz

Hospital can be an unfamiliar, scary and boring place, especially for children.

But an initiative to help children feel better about their stay has been launched at Wairarapa Hospital.

The Brave Books Basket is full of books to be given free to younger patients.

The man behind the idea is the owner of Paper Plus Masterton, Warwick Delmonte.

Delmonte said he was “well versed” in children’s hospital visits. His daughter, Georgia, spent months in Auckland’s Starship Hospital with a congenital heart defect.

“She had a bumpy start to life,” he said.

During his family’s time visiting and staying in hospital, Delmonte saw a clear need for something to occupy the children being cared for.

“All kids have to be brave in hospital,” he said. “A new book to choose and take home might be enough of a distraction to make it all better.”

Delmonte said half the battle for those sick in hospital was tackling boredom, and books offered an escape for children.

“If we can take another kiddie away from the immediate problems then we’re only too pleased to do that.”

He hoped childrens would also develop a lifelong reading habit from their time in hospital if they had good books to read.

“They can pick whatever they want and take it home with them, and we’ll endeavour to keep the basket stocked.

“Hopefully, the kids at [Wairarapa] hospital can enjoy a little bit of escapism – it’s pretty important.”

Charge nurse manager at Wairarapa Hospital Tess Geard, said the hospital used distraction toys for children during procedures, but the basket was a step further.

“To be able to provide a keepsake bravery book to recognise the children’s efforts while with us is a great initiative, and we are very grateful to Warwick and his team.

“It will give our young patients something to remember us by, and I’m sure it’ll help sweeten their memories of their hospital visit.”