Treadmill Challenge 2011

The organisers of the annual Hutt Treadmill Challenge have chosen The Tree Hutt as this year’s charity.

See below for more about the Treadmill Challenge 2011 and how to sign-up:

The Hutt Treadmill Challenge

Exercise tolerance testing is a useful way of investigating patients with cardiac disease. The standard Bruce Protocol is divided into stages, each lasting three minutes. The treadmill incline and speed (and therefore difficulty) increases with each stage until the test is terminated due to ECG findings or patients’ symptoms/fatigue.

As cardiology registrar in 2009 I would often encourage patients to go a little longer and this would provoke the response: “I’d like to see you doing this.”

In the past, the cardiology registrars have traditionally attempted the Bruce Protocol on the treadmill at the end of a six month rotation.

This is the context in which the first formal Hutt Treadmill Challenge was launched. The idea was to open the opportunity for running to the entire Hutt Hospital staff and to use the event to raise funds for a cause outside the hospital. The result is Hutt Hospital giving something back to the local or wider community.

Another benefit, not initially anticipated, was the bringing together of Hutt Staff members who would not normally meet day-to-day in the hospital. A healthy dose of competition was introduced by dividing competitors into four teams. The obvious benefit was encouraging fitness in our hospital staff members.

HTC 2009 involved 46 runners and a donation via Red Cross of $5,395 towards relief in Samoa after the tsunami. The response for an inaugural event was overwhelming and all participants had a great time. This was obvious because many came back for a second go in 2010. The champion in 2009 was GianLuca Valsenti, a radiology registrar at the time who in fact clocked the treadmill by exceeding the programmed 30 minutes.

HTC 2010 involved 42 runners and saw the radiology department providing the champion for the second year running. Paul Williams beat his previous time to win with a time of 28:33. Overall the times were better in 2010.

The Lab/Radiology team remains undefeated for the overall team average time and received a bar tab for Petone Speights Alehouse again this year.

Prizes have included coffee vouchers from RIPE and free phones sourced through the operators from Telecom.

LA fitness has provided the treadmills, two years running, and have been a vital part in making the event possible. With more than 40 runners taking part we couldn’t use the cardiology treadmills because the risk of damaging the treadmill was too high and if the treadmill was out of action patients would be subsequently be delayed in getting investigated for heart disease.

Last year we raised $2,450 which was donated to Hutt Valley Women’s Refuge. They will be directly putting this money towards the running costs of the safe house, ensuring basic needs are met for women in need.

This year, Stephen Silk will be taking over the running of HTC which I hope will continue well into the future. There will be new runners and a new cause to raise funds for.

Last but not least, I must offer a huge thank you to all of the runners and their sponsors. The enthusiasm has been outstanding and is a credit to this hospital.

Best wishes,
Dr Laird Cameron.

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First four weeks in The Tree Hutt

The Tree Hutt has been open for just over a month now and it is proving to be a lovely place for children and their families to spend their time waiting for treatment.

Many sick and injured children have been taken through to The Tree Hutt and Pip, Lulu, Matilda, Wiki, Poko and Sam have been there to guide them through their journey of the hospital emergency experience. The train has been a big hit for many children who have enjoyed watching it run around the tree tops and hearing the morepork and bird sounds as it chugs along the track.

Staff of the emergency team feels the area has offered many children a safe and special place just for them. They are grateful that The Tree Hutt offers some distraction with toys, reading books, watching TV or to just sit with their family member and have a cuddle. Staff know that emergency departments can be a very stressful, noisy place and with long waits that can lead to children being traumatised by the whole experience. With children taken into The Tree Hutt, staff have been finding that they are able to assess and treat them a lot easier than before and they are finding children appear less distressed. Some children have even cried when they have to leave. Many staff are really enjoying working in the area and even say “it has been fun to work there.”

We have had to put up a few ‘Please do not touch the train’ signs because some people have taken down the train and put it on the floor for children to look at. This has lead to the train being broken and it had to be taken away to be fixed. Good news though – the train is now up and running again for all the children who attend the area to see and enjoy.

Over the last month we have had three bean bags donated from They visited The Tree Hutt website and said they wanted to give to this fantastic cause. The bean(z) bags have been a big hit and children are enjoying having them to sit in. They are a beautiful green colour which fits into the decor of the area. We have purchased some up to date videos for children to watch to make their time in the emergency department easier.  These include Rio, The Lion King, Tinkerbell and the Great Fairy Rescue, The Gruffalo and also Alice in Wonderland.

Next month, we will be introducing some new toys to the area. We are going to purchase some wooden trucks, bulldozers, graders and a dolls house. The trucks and bulldozers are being made by Dr Archie Kerr who was one of the paediatric doctors working at Hutt Hospital. We also want to purchase some new Duplo for the waiting and treatment areas, for the children to play with.

Last but not least, are some comments and special stories of the children who recently had to visit The Tree Hutt for treatment:

“I went to the hospital with a broken arm after I feel off the ladder at the play ground. I went into The Tree Hutt and sat in the bean bag and watched TV with mum and dad, it was nice in there. Mum read books to me too. The doctors and nurses helped me make my arm straight again. They put my arm in a big plaster and gave me a certificate and some medicine, they were nice too.”

“When I was sick we went into The Tree Hutt and I saw the train. I liked the train it made noises and I pushed the button to make it go.”

I had a cough and a sore throat and my mum took me to the hospital. When I got there the nurse took me into The Tree Hutt. Mum read me some books and the nurse gave me some orange medicine. I liked the kiwi on the wall it was in the trees.”

“I was sick, my tummy hurt and mum took me to The Tree Hutt. I saw the big tree with red flowers on it. The doctor had a look at my tummy. I saw the train and like it.”

“These are just a few stories from some of the children who were sick or injured and came to the tree hutt for treatment. We would like you to write in of your experience in The Tree Hutt”

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Take the virtual tour

We have just finished putting together a virtual tour of The Tree Hutt, so you can see the mural in full. Click here to take the tour.

Come back soon to see more mural details and an extended tour of other parts of The Tree Hutt.

Thanks to Chris from Wellington Garden Rail for the photos.

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Scholastic donates books to The Tree Hutt waiting room

Books play a very important role in distraction therapy, helping a child to focus on something other than the strange sights and sounds of a hospital environment. So we are thrilled that Scholastic New Zealand have donated a fantastic selection of books for children to read when they visit The Tree Hutt.

From picture and board books for our younger patients, to non fiction titles full of facts for all ages and junior fiction novels for our older Tree Hutt patients.

“At Scholastic we believe that nothing is more important than children having access to books and reading, especially at stressful, difficult times in their lives. The idea of a contented child surrounded by stunning books, in an inspiring waiting room, is completely compelling in terms of the difference books can make.”

PS Office Products have generously covered the books with durable, polyethylene clear covers. These hard wearing covers are non-toxic, odourless and water resistant, making them easy to clean. They provide excellent protection for the books, ensuring they last a lot longer and can be enjoyed by as many children as possible.

The books are in The Tree Hutt waiting room and can be found inside the very cool tree stump book boxes constructed by Simon from Twins Digital.

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New Hutt Hospital Emergency Department officially opened

The official opening of the emergency department, which includes The Tree Hutt was on Friday the 26th August.

It was a beautiful morning starting at 0700hrs with the Tapu lifting ceremony conducted by our local Kaumatua, followed by prayers and blessing by the hospital clergy. There where many special invited guests including the Hon Tony Ryall (Minister of Health), Dr Virginia Hope, Keriata Stuart and our own local mayors to name a few. Also part of the special guest list where all the main people involved with the creation and construction of the tree hutt project.

Our CEO Graham Dyer spoke about the tree hutt project and for the first time this made many aware that there was a very special area developed especially for children. This area would provide distraction therapy in our very own new emergency department. Keriata Stuart who is the chair of the HVDHB Maori Partnership Board talked about the importance of children within the family. She went on to say what is distraction therapy and to thank all those involved with the project.

The hospital has its very own choir and orchestra It is made up of staff members and they are from different areas of the hospital. They performed and sang Hine e Hine which was fantastic and wonderful to listen too.

The last part of the ceremony was the unveiling of the carving and plaque I was invited to escort Tony Ryall and our other official guests on a tour of the new operating theatres suites, new Emergency Department and a walk through The Tree Hutt. I spoke about the concept and importance of having  a separate area set aside providing Distraction Therapy especially for children.

After the official opening we invited a number of children who where in the children’s ward to be the first to experience visiting the tree hutt. TV 1 where also present and filmed the children walking into the area (watch it here). For me seeing the amazing look on their faces, the smiles, and the enjoyment they appeared to have especially with touching the characters and seeing the train move around the tree tops was fantastic.

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Silverstream Lions help winning nurse stay on track

Award winning nurse Stephanie Beddis is delighted with the progress that is being made towards the completion of Lower Hutt Hospital’s Paediatric Accident & Emergency waiting room.

Since winning the title of New Zealand’s hardest working nurse 18 months ago she has worked closely with Creative Director Ann Wyatt from Red Pebble, illustrator Rachel Driscoll and the Silverstream Lions to turn her dream into reality.

Stephanie’s vision is to create a unique distraction therapy environment for young children within the Emergency Department to be known as “The Tree Hutt”. The aim is to minimise the trauma of the hospital experience for children and their families.

According to Stephanie, research has shown that having a child friendly environment with murals, themes and toys is the key to distraction as it increases the child’s ability to cope with pain, stress and anxiety by stimulating them to concentrate on something else.

In the waiting area, children can push buttons to control a train that runs through the tree tops. Native birds will sing as the train travels along the track through a specially built tunnel and over a truss bridge, which has been built by the Wellington Garden Rail Group.

“Building the train layout and features has involved a number of members and many hours of voluntary work. We are delighted to be part of this project and the group will continue to maintain the train and track on an ongoing basis,” says Wellington Garden Rail member Chris Drowley.

While the initial sum of $10,000 came from Gareth Morgan as Stephanie’s prize for winning the competition, the Silverstream Lions Club has assisted greatly towards the initial total cost of nearly $20,000 and ensured that the project will be completed on time.

Ongoing costs to cover maintenance, reading books, “The Tree Hutt” website and consumables will require regular sponsorship and the team is organising a sponsorship package that they hope will appeal to a wide range of businesses.

A significant amount of voluntary time has also already been donated to create this unique environment for children at the Hutt Hospital, including the painting of a mural by Ann and Rachel which will be completed by early August.

“The Tree Hutt” is due to be officially opened on 3 September in time to cater for the expected additional demands from people attending the World Cup.

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