Rooftop Garden Encourages Healing At Children’s Hospital At Erlanger

Friday, June 10, 2011

As most parents of a sick child know hospital rooms are a difficult place for a young child to be a kid. Children’s Hospital at Erlanger has created themed murals on each of the pediatric floors and whimsical, colorful, hand-painted ceiling tiles with familiar cartoon character images.

Despite the playful interior decorations, Wallis Davies, child life director at Children’s Hospital, recognized that these kids needed something more, so she focused her efforts on finding a sanctuary where both children and their families could go for a much needed respite from the typical cold and sterile hospital environment. The result is a rooftop garden where sick children can go to get some fresh air and stretch their legs.

Patients of Children’s Hospital are testing a new kind of play product on the rooftop garden called Snug Play USA. Conceived in the U.K. by visual artists, Tim and Hattie Coppard, Snug Play is a new and innovative play concept designed to be ‘powered by a child’s imagination.’ These larger than life loose play elements can be moved, rearranged, stepped upon, under, and around, to create a brand new play experience each time it is used.

Children’s Hospital at Erlanger is the first hospital in the United States to utilize Snug Play.

“We find that it is imperative to change worn or broken play equipment on the rooftop garden every couple of years for the safety of our patients and their families. By testing the equipment first, we hope to find that it is more durable and sturdy than other play equipment we have seen and will allow our patients to play on it for many years to come,” says Ashley Williams, child life specialist at Children’s Hospital. “From what I have seen, the patients really love to play on it. I think this will become a wonderful addition to our rooftop garden.”

Ms. Williams mentioned that children of all ages utilize the rooftop garden space including infants in strollers and even teenagers. Patients with IV lines can easily navigate the space too. The garden also features plenty of seating surrounded by colorful and artfully arranged landscaping.

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