Disney dedicates over $100 million to children’s hospitals
The Walt Disney Company will be committing “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.” This plan will cover the media giant’s efforts to increase its wish-granting program each year.
Chairman and Executive Officer Robert A. Iger announced that this initiative will roll out over five years, elaborating on its vision to help 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.”
Disney’s theme park designers, the “Imagineers,” will be applying their expertise to implement the following concepts:
- A new RFID-based system allowing patients to customize their hospital visit by choosing their favorite Disney stories and characters, which will surround them during their stay. The system will also unlock special elements to further personalize and enhance the experience, such as “enchanted” artwork that comes alive.
- Themed treatment and patient rooms featuring interactive murals of Disney stories, bed linens and gowns featuring each child’s favorite characters, and personalized in-room entertainment. Additionally, well stocked mobile “play carts” will include Disney-themed games and activities to give families something to do together to help alleviate stress and boredom.
- Disney first-run movies and television shows, available both in-room and in themed pop up movie theaters in the hospital, along with other Disney entertainment options.
- Disney customer-experience training for doctors, nurses and staff. The renowned Disney Institute, a part of The Walt Disney Company that provides professional development training focused on leadership, employee engagement and high quality service, will create a customized program for healthcare professionals designed to foster a less stressful, patient and family-centric hospital experience.
Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston, Texas is Disney’s first partner for this ambitious project. Mark A. Wallace, the President and CEO of the largest children’s hospital in the US, had this to say:
“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.”
Guiding Disney in this endeavor is a global panel of medical experts, including doctors, nurses, hospital administrators, parents and child life professionals. 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 one of the members on the panel, and expressed great optimism for the partnership:
“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.”