(HOUSTON BUSINESS JOURNAL) Texas Children's Hospital will be getting a makeover, courtesy of The Walt Disney Co.
Disney announced that it will donate $100 million over five years to redecorate children's hospitals with its characters and storylines, according to a press release. And Houston's very own Texas Children's Hospital will be the first recipient.
Disney is deploying its "Imagineers," or theme park designers, to work with medical experts to create "a supportive atmosphere that is personal, warm and entertaining for patients and families during their time at the hospital," per the release.
Some features that Disney will incorporate in the hospitals include:
- Installing interactive technology so that a child's favorite characters can surround him or her during the hospital stay.
- Crafting themed rooms with Disney murals and bed linens.
- Providing hospital gowns featuring each child's favorite characters.
- Sharing carts that will move from room to room with Disney-themed games.
- Building pop-up theaters with Disney movies and TV shows.
- Personalizing in-room entertainment.
“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,” Robert Iger, CEO and chairman of Disney, said in the release. “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.”
Disney will also offer customer-experience training for hospital staff to help them foster a "less stressful, patient- and family-centric hospital experience," per the release. By connecting over Disney stories and characters, medical staff have a shared vocabulary with children and their families during treatment, James Fahner, a pediatric doctor at Michigan's Helen DeVos Children's Hospital/Spectrum Health, said in the release.
"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," Fahner added in the release.
Exactly when patients at Texas Children's Hospital can expect these changes is unclear, but the organization is excited to begin collaborating with Disney, Mark Wallace, president and CEO of Texas Children's Hospital, said in the release.
Disney will also expand its work with children's wish-granting organizations by increasing the number of wishes granted per year, according to the release. Last year, the company granted more than 10,000 wishes.
Texas Children's Hospital was named the nation's fourth-best children's hospital by U.S. News & World Report's latest list. It ranked No. 1 in the cardiology and heart-surgery specialty, and it ranked within the top six nationwide in seven other specialties. Physicians are also very satisfied with Texas Children's Hospital's quality of medical care, hospital policy and administration, medical staff issues, and electronic medical records, according to a recent survey.
Meanwhile, Texas Children's Hospital is in the middle of construction on a new tower at its Texas Medical Center location. In November 2014, it announced it would start work on a 19-story patient tower. It also has expansion plans for its West Houston location.