Disney is commiting more than US$100m (€81m, £71.6m) to children’s hospitals across the world, with the company’s Imagineers tasked with reinventing the patient and family experience in a care setting.
Disney’s Imagineers, who usually lend their talents to theme park design, will create a rich array of distinctly Disney elements, bespoke for children’s hospitals. Using Disney’s iconic characters, the Imagineers will create a number of experiences, all of which will include a supportive atmosphere that is personal, warm and entertaining for patients and families during their time at the hospital.
Announced at the Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston, US, the five-year initiative will be rolled out worldwide, building on a legacy of supporting children’s hospitals dating all the way back to company founder Walt Disney.
“Disney is dedicating this money to help improve the experience at children's hospitals around the world,” said Disney chair and CEO, Bob Iger, speaking at the company’s annual shareholder meeting.
“We're starting with the Texas Children's Hospital, where we will add a little Disney magic to their fantastic new expansion.
“With the help of patient care experts and our own Imagineers, we're going to help create a kid-friendly atmosphere incorporating our beloved characters and legendary creativity to bring our stories to life in ways that delight young patients and ease the stress of their hospital stay, and then we will replicate that effort in several more hospitals over the next five years.”
Among the plans, a new RFID (Radio-frequency identification)-based system will allow patients to customise their hospital visit by choosing their favorite Disney stories and characters, which will surround them during their stay. The RFID system will unlock special elements to further personalise and enhance the experience, such as “enchanted” artwork that comes alive.
The Imagineers will also create themed treatment and patient rooms, with interactive murals of Disney stories, bed linens and gowns featuring each child’s favorite characters, and personalised in-room entertainment. In these special rooms, mobile “play carts” will feature Disney-themed games and activities. Also available in-room, themed pop-up theatres will show Disney films, with first-run movies just released available to view for patients.
As part of the programme, doctors, nurses and hospital staff at participating locations will be given Disney customer-experience training. The training scheme will focus on leadership, employee engagement and high quality service, with a special customised programme for healthcare professionals designed to foster a less stressful, patient and family-centric hospital experience.
“We are honored to be the inaugural hospital to collaborate with Disney on this exciting patient-focused initiative,” said Mark A. Wallace, president and CEO of Texas Children’s Hospital – the largest children’s hospital in the US.
“Patient care is at the centre 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.”