Lifewatch: Fun centers in hospitals

Reported by Claire Hosmann - bio|email
Posted by Debra Worley - email

(WECT) - A hospital stay can be scary for children, but many hospitals are making some improvements in the pediatric unit that my help make kids and their parents happier and more comfortable.

Marquis Ross heads to the hospital every four weeks for a monthly blood infusion to treat his sickle cell anemia.  He is confined to his bed during treatments but he's still able to have some fun.

"He watches TV most of the time," said Marquis' mother Lashanda Ross.  "He has a little fun, but I'm sure something else would catch his attention."

During one visit, Marquis was in for a big surprise.  He went to a fun center, which is a mobile entertainment unit with a flat screen TV, DVD player and Nintendo Wii system.

Director of Pediatrics Carol Gehrig said the center can transform a child's hospital stay.

"It's frightening for them and sometimes there's pain involved and so this is a great diversion for them," said Gehrig.  "They have something to actually look forward to when they get here."

While the systems are helping children, the money spent purchasing them is also helping the non-profit Starlight Foundation for critically-ill children.

"We are very happy that we were able to give back because we purchased Fun Centers from the Starlight Foundation and that we also gave back to another non-profit organization, such as ourselves," said hospital marketing vice president Kathy DeRouen.

There are several other renovations underway for the pediatric unit from revamping the play area to new artwork, kid-friendly furniture, and fun centers.

New Hanover Regional Medial Center has a fun center in the Betty H. Cameron Women's and Children's Hospital.