New medical equipment makes a difference

This year our Five Star Partner Barfoot & Thompson’s annual Quiz Night event raised a record breaking $182,006 to fund medical equipment to help provide even better care to Starship children. From therapy trampolines and baby scales through to gel warmers for ultrasound and child feeder trays, this bundle of equipment is having a positive impact on the wellbeing of patients, their families as well as staff. Read more below about how this medical equipment is making a difference.

Ishida Bench Scales, NICU

Tracking growth is pivotal to the care of pre-term infants in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Using highly accurate scales to weigh small babies means we know exactly the right feed volumes to give them to promote optimal growth. Titrating medications just right for babies as little as 500 grams is extremely important to do safely, so an accurate measurement of weight is key.

“All our fluids and drugs are calculated by weight, so the weight is needed to make clinical decisions,” says NICU Clinical Charge Nurse Sue McKnight. “For some babies this means a daily weigh and with the capacity to have over 40 babies all having frequent weighs a good fleet of new scales will improve the daily life of nurses and the care we provide for the babies here.”

Eight Ishida 30kg stainless steel bench scales fitted with clear plastic baby trays were funded.

Ishida Bench Scales (NICU)


Therapy trampoline, Children’s Therapy Gym

The trampoline in the children’s therapy department unsurprisingly is a well-loved piece of equipment. Utilised on a regular basis by therapists and patients as part of treatment, rehab and assessment sessions, after 12 years of use it was in dire need of replacement.

“The Spring free trampoline is one of the most popular pieces of equipment in the therapy gym,” says Haeley Mato, Practice Supervisor, Starship Physiotherapy. “We use it to provide exercise opportunities for a wide range of Starship patients including those with chronic respiratory conditions. It is also used to facilitate balance training and strengthening, and is a fantastic reward for children at the end of less exciting therapy work.”

Therapy trampoline


Feeder tray for tumble form, multiple wards

Tumbleform seats are a supportive seating piece of equipment for children with special needs, and Starship patients are often provided with these on the wards by therapists as part of their development therapy input. Unlike high chairs, tumbleform seats do not routinely come with trays, which are beneficial for children to learn self-feeding skills and independence with eating.

“An important part of learning how to eat involves infants choosing their own food, and having opportunities to explore, feel, and play with food and textured items,” says Taryn Haslett, Starship Speech-Language Therapist.

“The addition of the feeding tray now means that infants who are unable to sit in a standard highchair can have the same developmentally appropriate experiences as healthy children.”

Feeder tray for tumble form


Oximeters, multiple wards

Starship performs over 500 overnight oximetry studies each year - a test used to measure the oxygen level (oxygen saturation) of the blood. An oximeter uses a child’s heart rate and oxygen saturations to not only diagnose sleep apnoea and oxygen requirements but also to monitor health outcomes through a patient’s hospital stay.

Pulse oximeters are relevant to children with tracheostomies, upper airway obstruction, lower airway incompetence, respiratory failure, sleep disordered breathing, lung disease of prematurity, cystic fibrosis and bronchiectasis.  

Hamish Esslemnot-Clow, Ward 26B Charge Nurse says, “Oximeters ensure that all children with such conditions have access to world class healthcare leading to faster recovery and less invasive treatments which in turn facilitates early discharge.”

Eight pulse oximeters were funded and used by staff across multiple wards.

Massimo Rads



Thanks to the generosity of Barfoot & Thompson, the above equipment, in addition to Infantometers for measuring babies and small children, gel warmers to rapidly warm ultrasound and maintain the temperature for young children who require echocardiograms, and the Starship NICU App which provides for more succinct teamwork within our team of clinicians, contribute to helping ensure our patients receive the best care possible.