A trip to the emergency department can be scary for sick kids, and their parents.
Lovelace Westside Hospital has just completed a makeover project designed to bring a little color and cheer to the experience.
Characters like Crush and Squirt from the Disney Pixar animated movie “Finding Nemo” adorn the wall in a corner of the emergency department waiting room, a TV shows children’s programs and kids can draw with colored chalk on a wall-mounted blackboard.
The project also included hiring Central New Mexico Community College student Andrea Garcia to decorate four of the emergency department’s 17 rooms with whimsical child-friendly murals.
The rooms feature a playful penguin engaged in hot-air ballooning, snowboarding, snorkeling and exploring a jungle.
“The concept is that the environment of care is important. We want it to be relaxed, comfortable and friendly,” said Dr. Rebecca Webb, medical director of the pediatric program at Lovelace Westside Hospital.
“If the kids are happy, the parents are happy,” she said.
Garcia also used the penguin theme in decorating walls of rooms in the hospital’s inpatient pediatric unit, which opened last year. The five-room, eight-bed inpatient pediatric unit on the hospital’s second floor is the only facility of its kind on the West Side.
The hospital’s emergency department has always cared for pediatric patients and hospital officials felt it was important to have an area that was comfortable for them.
If children need inpatient care after being seen in the emergency department they can easily be transferred upstairs, Webb said.
The pediatric innovations are part of a $250,000 project that transformed the entire look of the emergency department.
The walls are now a fresh pale green, which hospital CEO Farron Sneed calls “ocean foam.”
The nurses’ station is faced with stone accents, partitions in the patient examining areas have been moved to give enhanced privacy and there is new flooring throughout.
Dr. Rebecca Webb, medical director of the pediatric program at Lovelace Westside Hospital, stands in one of the emergency department rooms that has been decorated for pediatric patients.
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