The Founding of KACCH

The Kuwait Association for Children in Hospital (KACCH), was founded informally in 1989 by Dr. Hilal and Mrs. Margaret Al-Sayer as an umbrella organisation supporting the provision of child friendly, family focused hospital facilities and play activities for sick children admitted to government hospitals in Kuwait. Having founded a Kuwait based ‘child life specialist’ course, KACCH went on to establish play therapy within acute hospitals and lobby for dedicated children’s wards in Kuwait. Once KACCH began work in the children’s cancer wards, there was immediate recognition of the need to provide psychosocial support for children with advanced cancer. As a response to direct need, a home palliative care service, with the support of a network of volunteer clinicians, was formed.

Abdullah’s Story

Bayt Abdullah Children’s Hospice (BACCH) was inspired by a young boy called Abdullah who returned to Kuwait following the failure of his treatment in London for neuroblastoma. After lengthy hospital stays and often painful procedures there was no further treatment that would offer hope for a cure. Abdullah’s mother promised her son that he would never again have to stay in a hospital and asked for the support of KACCH to enable her to look after Abdullah at home. A team of experts was formed to manage his pain and other symptoms allowing Abdullah to live as normal a life as possible in the face of his approaching death.

This powerful experience encouraged KACCH to work towards the provision of similar care for other children in Kuwait who have a life-threatening illness. Bayt Abdullah has been developed specifically to give those children the specialised care they need, ensuring emphasis is placed on quality of life and the best day to day care possible, providing their families with support throughout their challenging journey. ‘Bayt Abdullah’ is named in memory of Abdullah and his family.

Breaking Ground

On Wednesday 20th April 2005, 1,000 children’s voices sang “Children of the World” in Sulaibikhat, a song especially composed for the occasion of the breaking ground ceremony for Bayt Abdullah. The children came from schools throughout Kuwait to honour Abdullah, the child who inspired the founders of KACCH to work towards providing an alternative to hospital care for children with life limiting or life threatening conditions. Abdullah’s father, together with Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahed Al-Sabah and Dr Hilal Al-Sayer, President of KACCH, planted a palm tree in memory of Abdullah in an area that would eventually be part of Bayt Abdullah’s gardens. As the tree was planted Abdullah’s brothers, sisters and cousins released hundreds of doves.

Building Bayt Abdullah

Bayt Abdullah is a place that allows children to maintain a sense of normalcy as they face varying phases of their life-threatening illnesses. The internal and external environment of the hospice was very carefully planned, based upon the challenges that families and children face. Each area was based around three concepts of seeking normalcy, offering choice and supporting families on their journey.

The Project:

  • Land: 20,000 square meters authorised by His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed and leased from the Ministry of Social Affairs for a nominal sum per annum, located in the Sulaibikhat Bay area.

  • Architect: Alia Al Ghunaim

  • Interior Design: NBBJ Architectural and Specialist Interior Designers, Ohio, USA

  • Design Consultants and Site Supervisors : Gulf Consult

  • Main Contractors: Al-Ahmadiah Contracting & Trading Company

  • Ferris wheel, magic carpet and rooftop walkway design : Marks Barfield Architects, London (designers of the London Eye)

  • Marketing and PR: Blu-Grey

Alia Al-Ghunaim

Bayt Abdullah was designed by the Kuwaiti architect Aliaa Abdul Rahman Al-Ghunaim who wanted to use her final thesis to contribute to society by designing this important facility for children. Under the supervision of her tutor, Michael Cassidy, she combined local environmental and cultural features with all the elements of paediatric palliative care, family respite, entertainment, education and spiritual support specifically for these children and their families. The setting is amongst beautifully landscaped gardens surrounding specially designed play areas.

NBBJ

Founded in 1943, for almost 70 years, NBBJ, a leading global architecture and design firm, has helped companies and organisations create innovative places. From top-performing world headquarters – including Reebok, Starbucks and Telenor – to state-of-the-art healthcare facilities – including collaboration on 9 of the top 14 US News and World Report Honor Roll hospitals – NBBJ has designed communities, buildings, products, environments, and digital experiences that enhance people’s lives. Many of the play areas’ design elements were drawn from research the NBBJ team conducted on educational spaces for children. What they found developed into ideas for structured and unstructured play. For example, the dining centre includes “cocoon” areas for the children. The major corridor that links the north and south points of the building serves the main play area and is filled with interactive elements to accommodate a range of motor skills and technological interactivity, as well as low-tech imaginary play.

Interior elements draw upon natural themes to bring the outdoors indoors. The plaza area is designed around a sea motif, a reminder of the water nearby. Chalet rooms have fiber optic lighting over the bed resembling a sky-blue starry sky.

Design Consultant and Site Supervision:

Gulf Consult

was founded in 1967 it is one of the first design consultants in Kuwait. Their work ranges from commercial towers and buildings to infrastructure engineering.

Main Contractor:

Ahmadiah Contracting and Trading Company

was founded in 1954 with a major presence in the Kuwaiti Construction Sector and in the Region as a whole.  Ahmadiah has a well-known reputation and is recognized for its qualified professionals in all fields of the construction sector.  Examples of Ahmadiah’s projects:  Al-Hamra Tower, United Tower, Arab Organisations HQ, Amiri Diwan,  Salhia Complex & JW Marriott Hotels and many more.

Ahmadiah Contracting and Trading Company was the main contractor and they remain as the provider for any civil or contractual works at Bayt Abdullah Children’s Hospice.

Main Sub-Contractor:

Bader Al-Mulla Engineering Group

was established in 1955.  The group has diversified engineering operations, covering projects, services, and technology, manufacturing and engineering sales.

For Bayt Abdullah the Engineering Group

covered the mechanical and electrical works, maintenance engineering services, fire protection and security systems and building automation and controls.

Marks Barfield and KPC Land

The preliminary concept for the hospice buildings, playground and external play structures was initially drawn up by a young Kuwaiti architectural student, Alia Al-Ghunaim. Bayt Abdullah approached Gulf Consult (Kuwait) to design the buildings, working with US interior health specialist Architects NBBJ. In 2009 Marks Barfield Architects was asked to design the special play structures, when the buildings were a third complete on site. Jane Wernick helped with the engineering aspects, and Quantem Consulting with costs.

Raising spirits

The three structures are integral to the palliative care philosophy of the hospice. They consist of a kaleidoscopic observation wheel, a magic carpet and a walkway which leads above the rooftops, culminating in an observation platform overlooking a flamingo feeding ground, a nature reserve and the Arabian Gulf. The structures are there to raise the children’s spirits, to engage their sense of adventure while being friendly, fun, exciting and – importantly – accessible to both mobile and wheelchair-dependent patients and their careers.

WGH Ltd. – Transportation Engineering

was founded in 1989 based in South Yorkshire. WGH is a leading designer and supplier of specialist rides, inclined lifts and people mover systems to the major leisure parks and standalone attractions in the UK, Europe and the Middle East. Typical example being the design of the automated platform for the London Eye.

WGH manufactured and build the Ferris Wheel at Bayt Abdullah’s KPC Land.

Waagner-Biro

is a Vienna, Austria based cooperation was founded in 1854.  Waagner-Biro owns companies in steel and mechanical engineering.  It operates from 14 locations in Europe, Asia and the Middle East.  Waagner-Biro built the Magic Carpet, Walkway and the Observation Tower in collaboration with Kelly Steel Engineering.

Kelly Steel Engineering

is a local UAE company based in Ras Al-Khaimah with Irish ownership. Kelly Steel worked with Waagner-Biro to manufacture and install the Magic Carpet, Walkway and the Observation Tower.

Facilities Management Services:

Ecovert FM is a UK industry leader in Total Facilities Management, adding value to Bayt Abdullah’s services through integrated FM service provision covering housekeeping, M&E maintenance and Security team.

Opening Ceremony

Our Services

BACCH aims to provide

  • A specialised children’s palliative care service meeting international standards, free of charge for all children in Kuwait who meet the criteria for admission to the hospice, regardless of nationality, religion or gender.

  • A multi-disciplinary approach to care recognising the physical, emotional, spiritual and social needs of each child and family unit.

  • A team of doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, child life specialists, dieticians and many others who can offer advice and support to children and their families.

  • A child-friendly, family centred, welcoming environment offering a variety of opportunities for play, recreational and educational activities.

  • Respect for individual preferences of children and families in relation to treatment, interventions and place of care.

  • 24 hour specialist support.

  • Bereavement support and counselling for the whole family.

  • Support for staff and volunteers through continuing education, supervision and training.

Additional services offered at Bayt Abdullah Children’s Hospice

  • A cafeteria providing nutritious meals for children and their families. Special meals are planned by our dietitians and prepared for children with allergies or who have particular nutritional requirements.

  • Planned day care activities and a range of supportive care services, including creative and complementary therapies.

  • Physiotherapy and rehabilitation services.

  • An information resource centre stocked with medical resources as well as literature for children and young adults and equipped with computer terminals with internet access.

  • Educational classes held in the BACCH school for children who are unable to attend school.