Let’s face it, being at the hospital is often a terrible thing.
Despite the compassionate care given by staff members, it’s often a scary place for both adults and children. In fact, studies have found that a stay in the hospital can cause psychological distress and trauma in kids, especially for those who stay in the intensive care unit. And that’s not even factoring in the cost of being treated in a hospital.
According to data from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project, there were nearly 5.9 million hospital stays for children up to 17 years of age, in the United States in 2012, with the average stay being about four days and costing about $6,400.
One company that apparently wants to help make hospital stays easier for kids and parents? Disney.
In 2017, The Walt Disney Co. gave more than $348 million to nonprofit organizations. This year, it want to focus some giving on healthcare.
Disney announced this month that it will commit more than $100 million to help ease the pain of children and their families in hospitals. Disney plans on investing “company resources, including cash, products and services, to reinvent the patient and family experience in children’s hospitals across the globe,” stated the company’s announcement. Over the next five years, this initiative plans to work to improve hospitals worldwide.
But how does Disney plan to “reinvent” hospital stays for kids? The company wants to redecorate children’s hospitals with its beloved characters and storylines in efforts to make young patients’ stays as pleasant as possible. Utilizing its famed “Imagineers”—the creative experts behind Disney’s theme park design and experience—the company seeks to incorporate Disney elements into children’s hospitals.
The goal is to create “a supportive atmosphere that is personal, warm and entertaining for patients and families during their time at the hospital,” according to Disney.
Concepts for this project include a system that allows patients to choose a favorite Disney character to surround them during their stay, treatment rooms that feature interactive murals of Disney stories, “play carts” equipped with Disney-themed games to help with boredom, in-room Disney entertainment and pop-up theaters with Disney movies.
The first medical center to get the new Disney treatment will be Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston, which was named one of the nation’s five best children’s hospitals by U.S. News & World Report last year. Learn more about Disney’s planned work with Texas Children’s Hospital in the video below.
“Disney’s timeless stories have touched hearts and lifted spirits for generations, and we believe they can bring comfort to children and families going through a very difficult time,” said Robert A. Iger, chairman and chief executive officer of The Walt Disney Co., during the announcement.
Most kids don’t want to spend time in a hospital but maybe Disney’s grand plan could make those stays feel a little less daunting for the ones who have to.