Here, life is for living

Bear Cottage is the only children’s hospice in NSW -
a very special place that’s dedicated to caring for children with life-limiting conditions. Families who care for a child with a life-limiting condition often do so around the clock for many years. Our vision is to be as far removed from a hospital environment as possible. We're set up to provide excellence in paediatric palliative care 24 hours a day, and our affiliation to The Sydney Children's Hospitals Network means we have access to some of the best medical resources in the world.

Our History

Bear Cottage is an initiative of The Children’s Hospital at Westmead.

The facility was established entirely through community support, at a cost of $10 million. We welcomed our first families in May 2001.

How we can Help

Bear Cottage provides support, respite and end-of-life care for children with life-limiting conditions and their families, in a warm homelike environment.


  • To give the best care possible to these special children
  • To provide temporary respite care to give families a much needed break.
  • To develop rapport and provide support to families as their child’s condition progresses.
  • To provide end-of-life care and bereavement support, sensitive to the needs of the individual families.

Care and comfort

Caring for a child with a life-limiting condition changes a family’s life forever. Exhausting, rewarding, sometimes positive, often painful - Bear Cottage is a place where respite is possible.


Children suffering from life-limiting illnesses, often find it hard to put their feelings into words. Through our music, art and play therapy we hope to increase happiness, responsiveness and empowerment to these children and their families.

Family Support Team and Key Workers

The family support team works closely with each family, throughout the care of their child and through ongoing bereavement support.

Social Work

Social Work offers opportunities for parents and children to discuss and explore the emotional, social, spiritual and practical issues that are integral to caring for a child with a life limiting illness.

Play Therapy

The play program at Bear Cottage aims to provide activities and an environment which promotes adding life to years, days and moments. The program incorporates in-house activities both one-to-one and in groups, as well as outings and visiting specialists such as musicians, storytellers and Clown Doctors.

Music Therapy

Our Music Therapy program gives kids, parents and friends the opportunity to communicate their love, sadness, respect and happiness in a non-verbal environment.

Art Therapy

Our Art Therapy Program is a cornerstone of the bright, creative and colourful place that is Bear Cottage. Our Art Therapy Program provides children, siblings and other family members with a creative outlet to communicate thoughts and feelings for which there are no words.

Even the least mobile children are able to participate in the tactile experience of oozing paint between their fingers or can enjoy a splash of colour.

Camps at
Bear Cottage

It’s difficult to imagine how isolating it is for children to be faced by an uncertain future, so Bear Cottage have organised a number of innovative camps to bring these vulnerable children, the siblings and parents together.

We hold specialised camps for children, their siblings, parents and even a Mum's Boot Camp, Dad's PitStop Camp and Grandparent's Camp to regroup, recharge and share experiences.

"Our specialist team are the heart and soul of Bear Cottage"

Meet our team

Clinical Team

  • Nursing Unit Manager
  • Paediatric Palliative care consultant
  • Experienced paediatric palliative care nursing staff
  • On-call GPs
  • Assistants in nurses
  • Social Workers
  • Child life play therapists
  • Music therapist
  • Art therapist
  • Physiotherapist

House Staff

  • Relationships Manager
  • Community Relations Manager
  • Volunteer Manager
  • Housekeepers
  • Chefs
  • Maintenance Manager
  1. Narelle Martin - Nurse Manager
  2. Phillipa Smith - Clinical Nurse Specialist
  3. Kathy Taylor - Social Worker
  4. Miranda Harry - Social Worker
  5. Bronwen Simmons - Community Relations Manager
  6. Rachel Simpson - Volunteer Manager

Our Superheroes

Here at Bear Cottage we come across superheroes every day. Here are some of their stories...

Our Superheroes


Keana was diagnosed with a brain tumour when she was just 11 months old.

She fought bravely through major surgery to remove the tumour, but sadly died just before her second birthday.

Keana’s family, including her twin brother, Corey, visited Bear Cottage throughout her illness. It was a place of care and support during this unimaginably difficult time – a place where her family could make the most of their time together.

Keana courageously fought her disease and was able to enjoy precious time with her family. Her radiant blue eyes and gentle smile made her a superhero in the eyes of everyone who had the privilege of knowing her.

Our Superheroes


One day at school Ryan collapsed and was soon diagnosed with a brain tumour at just eight years old.

Spending the next 17 months in hospital was tough for Ryan and his family. AFL, karate and the violin were soon replaced by surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

At Bear Cottage, Ryan and his mum, Lisa could rest and spend fun times together, visiting the zoo, beach and the local toy shop or relaxing in the spa.

Lisa was comforted knowing that Ryan’s care was being shared with the best doctors and nurses at Bear Cottage and they were on hand around the clock if anything went wrong.

A wonderful birthday party was held at Bear Cottage to celebrate Ryan’s ninth birthday. Sadly, Ryan did not celebrate another birthday, dying peacefully at Bear Cottage with his mum by his side.

Feel at home

Bear Cottage has been specifically designed for children and families. Our facilities are state-of-the-art and our care is delivered in a way that allows the children and families to feel at home.

Our facilities include

  • Individual children's rooms
  • Family suites
  • Multi-sensory room
  • Sensory garden
  • Beautiful gardens with ocean views
  • Spa
  • Multi-media/games room
  • Wheelchair accessible play areas
  • Parent's retreat and quiet area
  • Commercial kitchen and dining room
  • Clifton Gardens - our end-of-life room
  1. Parent's Retreat
  2. Children's Room
  3. Play Area
  4. Quiet Room
  5. Spa Room
  6. Serenity Garden
  7. Balcony