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A children’s experience like no other

Keith Austin Keith Austin

Published 24 September 2013

Healthcare providers are leading the way when it comes to innovation to improve patient care. Keith Austin, Chief Executive Officer at EMS Healthcare looks at one example with The Royal London Hospital.

It’s not often that you come across something that totally surprises and inspires you, opening your eyes to a whole new world of opportunity. But I recently experienced this when I came across The Royal London Hospital’s new playroom.

You can view it for yourself here – simply magical.

Steered by Vital Arts, the charitable arts organisation of Barts Health NHS Trust, the project was intended to provide a fun area for patients at the children’s ward of the new hospital complex, using art and play to aid the healing process.

The innovative use of technology and space to engage patients, which provides a diversion to the traditional hospital environment with a creative play area, is truly inspirational.

The space appears as a living room, but like a scene from Alice in Wonderland with larger than life installations such as a TV, chair and soft toys.

At the heart of the playroom is ‘Woodland Wiggle’ – an interactive game that enables children to paint pictures and play music with their body movements to enhance the therapeutic benefits of play. Designer Chris O’Shea took into account the wide range of patients from healthy children to those with special needs.

There’s no doubt that this is a healing space like no other, putting installation art and cutting-edge technology to good use - according to experts this colourful and creative interior could speed up recovery for child patients and relieve the monotony of being stuck in hospital.

While this is a great example of how ‘experiential and technology’ can work together to achieve amazing things, not all hospitals have the space to accommodate this kind of environment. However, the potential is never-ending. The concept could be transferred to the mobile world - a ‘healing space’ that tours children hospitals on an on-going basis, removing the need to take up valuable ward space.

We’ve worked with a myriad of healthcare providers who are improving patient care through innovative use of medical trailers from providing a temporary ward solution for hospitals going through building works to helping deliver care in the community with mobile units.

The idea of using a mobile environment and experiential activity to create an engaging healing space is exciting. I look forward to watching healthcare provision develop in this way.