Children’s Hospital’s expansive Child Life Center amplifies the experience of patients while in the hospital, and includes a multipurpose room, child playroom, teen lounge, and sensory room designed to empower children of all ages and abilities.
NEW ORLEANS – This month Children’s Hospital New Orleans is celebrating the opening of its much-anticipated Child Life Center, a final part of the hospital’s $300 million campus transformation that amplifies the patient and family experience. The new Center, made possible through the support of generous donors including the Krewe of Tucks, Spirit of Children, and the Maureen and Whit Huguley Family Fund, provides a spacious and engaging environment for children to thrive and find joy while receiving care in the hospital.
“An integral part of clinical care that sets a children’s hospital apart is its Child Life Program,” says Rene Guilbeau, Director of Child Life and Creative Therapies at Children’s Hospital. “Child Life Specialists make all the difference when it comes to attending to emotional safety and ensuring best practice for infants, kids and teens. I am thrilled that our team now has a space that matches the level of care they provide.”
In Children’s Hospital’s campus expansion, special care was taken to create a dedicated space to house its integral Child Life Program. With a new child playroom, a teen lounge, a sensory room for those with special needs, and a dedicated space for children to gather, the Child Life program at Children’s Hospital now has an optimal space to help kids get well through music, play, art, activities, games and more.
“Being in a hospital setting can be scary for any child,” says Chief Experience Officer Scott Macicek, MD. “We believe that kids should be kids even when they are sick, and Child Life programs not only lead to better overall patient and family experiences, but also support improved quality and better patient outcomes.”
The Child Life Center features a spacious multipurpose room, made possible through a gift from the Maureen and Whit Huguley Family Foundation in memory of their mothers, Agnes Cooke McLindon and Katherine Yarborough Huguley. The multipurpose space serves as the front door of the Center, with a spacious floorplan enveloped by glass windows that fill the space with natural light and inviting views of the hospital’s park-like campus. The space will be used for special events, arts and crafts, patient game nights, holiday gatherings, comedy improv shows and more.
The Krewe of Tucks has also generously committed $240,000 in support of the child playroom and teen lounge, spaces that were custom designed for kids by kids that will bring joy, healing and enrichment to patients for many years to come.
A highlight of the new Center, an enclosed sensory space was carefully planned for those with special needs, such as neurological conditions and Autism. Sensory Integration Rooms provide safe and enriching environments where users of all ages are empowered to enjoy a variety of activities that fully engage their senses. Sensory rooms can be used to calm and relax, or stimulate exploration, learning and development, and to help individuals with sensory processing disorder, cognitive and learning disabilities process the world around them. The sensory room is named in honor of Spirit of Children, who has raised more than $1 million for Children’s Hospital’s Child Life Program.
“Our transformed campus was designed with patient and family-centered care at the core, and the new Child Life Center is a wonderful representation of that,” says Children’s Hospital President and CEO John R. Nickens IV. “It is incredibly fulfilling to see the joy that this new space brings to our patients, along with the impact of our extraordinary child life and creative therapies team.”