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University Hospital Bonn: Inauguration of new family facility at the Parent-Child Centre

University Hospital Bonn : Inauguration of new family facility at the Parent-Child Centre

The new residential facility near to the Parent-Child Centre at the University Hospital Bonn was inaugurated in a ceremony on Sunday. The first parents will be coming in August. The facility is intended to be a "gown-free zone" for families.

“It is always important for parents to be able to stay close to their children”. Christoph Trump experienced this himself when one of his own children had to attend the children's clinic on Adenauerallee for cancer treatment. “It took two years for us,” he says. In the process, he discovered the work of the support group ‘Förderkreis für krebskranke Kinder und Jugendliche Bonn’ and now sits on the advisory board.

At that time, he and his wife used the support group’s old family facility in Joachimstraße to take turns in being close to their child. On Sunday, the new building on the grounds of the University Hospital Bonn was opened. It is located barely 50 metres from the Parent-Child Centre (ElKi), to which the paediatric clinic has now moved. This is a blessing for parents, Christoph Trump said. Not just because of the proximity to where the child is being treated. Even if it sounds banal: “It helps if parents can find a decent bed and have a shower.”

Garden still being planted

In future, the new family facility will offer all this and more over three levels: Communal areas on each floor, a large meeting and seminar room on the ground floor with a big kitchen and piano, and a garden that is currently being planted. "The well-being of parents should be the main focus here at the facility," said Jan Hennemann, Managing Director of Familienhaus Bonn gGmbH. This also includes keeping the whole house "gown-free".

The building could not be completely finished by the time of the ceremony - the carpet on the first floor, for example, was only laid on Saturday, said Hennemann during the tour. And the upper floors are still a construction site. But one could still see on the first floor that the living spaces are equipped to a high standard, a result of generous donations. But they want to be ready by the time the first parents move in in August, he said.

Much is owed to the support group

At the ceremony, Mayor Katja Dörner and NRW Minister for Family Affairs Joachim Stamp thanked Jan Hennemann and his father Lutz for their commitment. Lutz Hennemann set up the support group following the death of his daughter Daniela from cancer in 1982. He has made many improvements to the oncology ward in Adenauerallee, as well as founding the old family facility. Much of what parents find there today as a matter of course, they owe to the support group, emphasised Ursula Roos, the deputy chairperson, in her emotional speech. The father and son founded the gGmbH for the new building on the hospital grounds. Medical Director Wolfgang Holzgreve, who could only take part in the ceremony on Sunday via video message, supported the project in its search for a suitable plot of land.

The family facility cost around seven million Euro instead of the estimated five million. This was due to the discovery of ammunition on the site and to the pandemic. The support group had been collecting donations for the project for years. Contributions for the additional costs were made by the German Cancer Aid Foundation. The project was financed without state funds. The family facility is not a clinic building, said Lutz Hennemann. On the contrary, an annual ground rent of 12,500 euros must be paid for 50 years, which he openly described as ‘unsocial’.

(Original text: Stefan Knopp, Translation: Caroline Kusch)