Michael Hennessy, 6, meets Santa at University Hospital Limerick and below, Ryan Heaney with a therapy dog at UHL
THE CHILDREN’S Ark at University Hospital Limerick is bringing the magic of Christmas to children who have not yet been discharged from the hospital.
The only inpatient facility for sick children in the Mid-West, the paediatric unit is open and its staff is working hard to make the experience as magical as possible for children who find themselves staying in hospital over Christmas.
The Children’s Ark is a purpose-built paediatric unit for children with 49 beds, a high-dependency unit, a cystic fibrosis unit and the Caterpillar day ward.
There is also a school for children staying in hospital so that those that are well enough can keep up with their school work.
December can be a busy time for the unit, with children being treated for respiratory and other winter-related infections and conditions.
However, staff work to ensure that as many children as possible are discharged in the run-up to Christmas.
Only children with the most serious illnesses are kept in hospital at Christmas.
On Thursday, Liam Mulcahy, Santa and members of the Defence Forces from Sarsfield Barracks will visit the Ark courtesy of Sophie’s Journey.
The Irish Chamber Orchestra is also due to perform in the Ark School and on the wards.
On Friday, Liam and Ben from Wild Encounters will bring their menagerie to the Ark’s playroom.
On Christmas Day, Santa and Mrs Claus along with a special guest will visit children on the wards courtesy of Des Begley and Jim Keogh.
UL Hospitals Group wishes to thank the musicians, entertainers, charitable partners, communities and volunteers who have visited the Ark to raise spirits over Christmas, as well as those who support the Ark all year round.