Allied Health team make Betty better
To celebrate Allied Health Professionals Day we share the story of 11 month old Betty and how her team of Allied Health Professionals from the Women’s and Children’s Health Network helped her start to life.
Betty has suffered respiratory symptoms affecting her breathing and feeding since she was two-weeks-old. This tricky start to life began with an admission to the Women’s and Children’s Hospital (WCH) and has resulted in Betty ready to party at her first birthday!
“The Allied Health team has been incredible,” says mum, Julie, from the Barossa Valley.
“From the first day we arrived at Rose Ward, we have had supportive and caring staff that have made this new and difficult experience easier to understand and deal with.”
Julie and her husband Luke initially noticed Betty was breathing noisily and she was referred to the WCH Lung Lab for an Oximetry test. She was diagnosed with Trachea Laryngomalacia (soft tissue of the larynx) admitted to the hospital and immediately put on oxygen.
“We met daily with 2-3 different respiratory doctors, led by Dr John Wong, who answered all of our many, many questions - always with a smile and never making us feel silly,” says Julie.
At the recommendation of her speech pathologist, Betty participated in a ‘swallow study,’ which uncovered that she was aspirating while feeding. This means milk was entering her lungs instead of her stomach. It was suggested that Julie immediately stop breastfeeding and a nasogastric tube was inserted.
“The Home Enteral Nutrition Service (HENS) met with me multiple times to help me work through the best alternative feeding processes for Betty as she started to grow,” says Julie.
“They also went above and beyond in training us to insert Betty's nasogastric tube ourselves, as well as teaching our local GP for those times when Betty decided to pull out her own feeding tube in the middle of the night.”
After Betty no longer needed HENS support, Julie continued monthly meetings with a feeding team that consisted of speech pathologists and a dietitian.
“They helped with different recipes for feeding, strategies for eating when starting solids, and our general wellbeing,” says Julie, who has been overwhelmed by the support and reliable communication from the Allied Health staff.
“It has been incredible how all the different disciplines have worked together to support Betty. They have always been aware of any updates with Betty's needs or progress that has been made,” she says.
“My family and I want to thank each member of the Allied Health team that we have communicated and worked with over the past year. Every single person we have met throughout our time at the WCH has been incredibly caring, supportive and helpful.
“We are forever grateful to you all for the endless help you have given us, that has made Betty into the strong and resilient child she is.”
Across the WCHN we have over 450 allied health staff from many disciplines, leading the way in a range of diagnostic, technical, therapeutic, and direct services. These are often made up of multidisciplinary teams working alongside one another in a daily display of living our CREATE values – particularly Together for Excellence.
Thank you to all of our allied health staff throughout WCH, Disability Services, CaFHS, CAMHS, Youth and Women’s Safety and Wellbeing Division, and Child Protection Services.
For more information about Gastroenterology services at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital, go to: