The Walt Disney company has announced that it is donating “more than $100 million in company resources, including cash, products and services, to reinvent the patient and family experience in children’s hospitals across the globe.”
Chairman and Executive Officer Robert A. Iger said the initiative is to increase the company’s annual wish-granting program and will roll out over a period of five years. Iger described his plan to aid children’s hospitals:
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. Using the powerful combination of our beloved characters and legendary creativity, we’re planning to transform the patient experience in children’s hospitals around the world — creating a personalized and engaging atmosphere that will inspire young patients and ease the stress of a hospital stay.
To work on this plan, Disney is getting help from medical doctors, nurses, and other health professionals from around the world. One doctor, Dr. James B. Fahner, M.D., F.A.A.P. Division Chief, Pediatric Hematology and Oncology at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital/Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids, Michigan, is positive about the endeavor and turnout:
Disney stories and characters provide a shared vocabulary between our young patients and their medical team. The magic of Disney restores some childhood innocence during a very difficult time, and also allows us as caregivers to be at our very best. I can’t think of any company that is better suited to lead this type of work than Disney.
There are certain concepts that Disney’s theme park designers, “Imagineers,” will follow:
One concept is an RFID-based system that will “transport” the patient to the Disney world of their choosing. They can select which characters they want around, as well as a special system function that allows “enchanted” artwork to come to life.
Similar to the first concept, the second will transform the hospital bed into the story or fairy tale of their choice. The room will feature interactive décor and themed bedding, including robes. Each room will also have mobile “play carts” to give the children a game to play alone or with family to “alleviate stress and boredom.”
Yet another concept is presentations of Disney “first-run” movies and TV programs on screens in each room or as part of a pop-up theater for children to watch together.
The fourth concept is customer-experience based such that the doctors and nurses will be briefed on giving the children a Disney experience. The Disney Institute is a segment of The Walt Disney Companies that provides training focused on development and personal relations to ensure health professionals provide a stress-free and helpful environment.
The first hospital paired with Disney for the project is the Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston, Texas. Mark A. Wallace, the President and CEO, spoke about the partnership:
We are honored to be the inaugural hospital to collaborate with Disney on this exciting patient-focused initiative. Patient care is at the center of our mission, and in addition to providing the highest-quality medical care to children, we strive to make the hospital experience as enjoyable and stress-free as possible for every patient and their family. We are looking forward to working with Disney to enhance our efforts in this area.
[via Coming Soon]