New central location for Hope Cottage

Hope Cottage has moved into a newly refurbished space at Nepean Hospital on Level 2, Building D as part of Stage 2 of the Nepean Redevelopment. 

The service previously sat within the footprint of the new Stage 2 tower and needed to be relocated to facilitate the construction of the second clinical building. 

Hope Cottage provides accommodation for patients and visitors who have travelled long distances to receive vital treatment or require ongoing care at Nepean Hospital. 

“Hope Cottage started as a shared house that the Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District used to rent on Hope Street – so that’s where we got the name Hope Cottage,” says Renae Islaub, who has been the manager of the service for the last ten years. 
From left: Renae Islaub and Rebecca Cooper“As the service evolved and grew larger, Hope Cottage was relocated onto the Nepean Hospital campus.” 

Opening in 2005, the new Hope Cottage at Nepean Hospital was a $1.4 million fundraising initiative by three Rotary Clubs in the region – Penrith, South Penrith/Penrith Valley and Nepean Rotary Clubs. Three years ago, Rotary handed operations of the service to Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District. 

Renae said Hope Cottage accommodates a range of visitors at the one time. 

“Some people may stay with us for one or two nights whereas others will stay with us for months on end,” says Renae.

"Our main cohort are parents with babies who are being treated in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, but we also have patients who have travelled long distances to receive treatment, such as chemotherapy, and need a place to stay before making the trip home again.” 

Kelley Carr was among the patients staying in Hope Cottage during its move, and the first to stay in its new location.  

“I found the move a little hard as I have been staying at Hope Cottage for a while and have acquired quite a few items which needed to be moved,” she said. “The Hope Cottage staff, especially the receptionist Karen have been so helpful and accommodating; I’ve felt very welcome here. 

“I come from the bush and have a premature son staying at Nepean Hospital. I also have no family close by, so being able to stay at Hope Cottage has been a huge help while my son receives treatment.” 

Renae says the main benefit of Hope Cottage’s relocation is being more central to other hospital services. 

“From our staff’s perspective, they’ll be closer to staff amenities and the hospital wards they pick up or deliver patient valuables to. From a safety point of view, we won’t be as isolated as where we are now. 

“It will also be safer for our patients. For example, parents who need to feed their babies in the middle of the night no longer have to walk outdoors but can make their way to the ward inside the hospital.” 

Nepean Redevelopment Project Officer, Rebecca Cooper worked closely with Renae and her team to ensure a smooth transition into their new home. 

Rebecca says Hope Cottage guests can look forward to fresh and new accommodation spaces.  

“The rooms look brand new with fresh paint and new floor finishes. They are also fully furnished with ensuites, access to kitchenettes, laundry and free-to-air TV,” she said. “There is also a shared family room as well as outdoor areas guests can use. A room inside Hope Cottage

“Renae and her team have been fantastic to work with throughout the relocation process. We’ve worked together to overcome some tough challenges and identify solutions that would ensure Hope Cottage continues to provide comfortable, safe and affordable accommodation to visitors and patients who need it most. 

“Hearing the stories of some of the visitors who use the service really reinforced the importance of keeping the service on the hospital campus, rather than relocate it to a new area offsite.  

“There are many disadvantaged families out there, and the whole team involved worked really hard to ensure Nepean Hospital could continue to provide onsite accommodation for these families, because at the end of the day, those people are who this redevelopment is for, and I think the project team should be proud of what we have delivered."

Images above:
(1) Renae Islaub (left) and Rebecca Cooper inside Hope Cottage.
(2) Kelley Carr (left) with Hope Cottage receptionist Karen.
(3) One of the rooms
 inside the new Hope Cottage.

Image below: Members of the three Rotary Clubs toured the new facility before it opened to the public.

Members of the three Rotary Clubs recently toured the new facility.