In 1821 the first children's hospital in Ireland and Great Britain known as the "Pitt Street Institution" was founded. It was the first hospital in Ireland and Britain established specifically for the care and treatment of children and they "sought to improve child and family centred care." Dr. Charles West who worked in the hospital went on to found Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children in 1852. In 1875 the National Orthopaedic and Children's Hospital was established and it was formally joined with the Pitt Street Institution in 1884. They both moved to "Harcourt Street" in 1887. The stated objective of the hospital at that time was, "to educate mothers and nurses regarding the proper management of children in both health and disease."
From its earliest days, The National Children's Hospital placed strong emphasis on the concept that trained nurses are needed to deliver nursing care. As a result, in 1884, The National Children's Hospital in conjunction with The Meath Hospital and County Dublin Infirmary established the Dublin Red Cross Training School for Nurses which was "the first in Ireland". In 1965 The National Children's Hospital established "the first Irish paediatric haemotology service". The first Bone Marrow Transplant in Ireland was performed by Professor Ian Temperley in the hospital in 1978.
As far back as the 1960's "visiting restrictions were relaxed" and "open visiting" was introduced at the National Children's Hospital. In the 1970's Dr Mervyn Taylor pioneered the "introduction of parent accommodation within the hospital so that parents could stay in hospital with their children."
It was acknowledged that "parents are not visitors" yet in 1972 only nine mothers stayed with their children in hospital that year. By 1985 funding was provided by the Department of Health and Children for a purpose built "Mother and child Unit" which was opened by President Patrick Hillery - a former medical student of the Hospital.
The first schooling for children was provided at the child's bedside by Mrs O'Riordan in 1966. Play was seen as an important element in the welfare of the sick child and therefore books and toys were wheeled around on trolleys daily for selection by children. The first playroom was established in the Hospital in 1971.
The first schooling for children was provided at the child's bedside by Mrs O'Riordan in 1966.
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