Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus Murals Create Child-Friendly Spaces

Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus was a blank canvas. Imagine stark white rooms with lots of medical equipment. Not a very inviting place for young patients who are already timid and nervous. However, the white walls provided a great opportunity for us to make our patients feel more comfortable when they come in for an appointment. And as a result Child Life Intervention, with the help of a talented artist named Larry Crawford, worked to create the perfect child-friendly space.

Places like radiology, pathology and the emergency center got a facelift as beautiful murals transformed the rooms making them more inviting and familiar for kids. Getting kids to step into the CT room used to be a challenge. Now they get excited to see the underwater mural that covers the entire room!

When the CT mural in the pediatric radiology department was installed we started to see a reduction in the number of kids who were sedated for CT scans. In fact, we noticed both the kids and their parents were intrigued and calmed by the detailed murals. Before the murals were completed, child life specialists would spend a lot of time convincing each child to come in. Now, each patient is curious and excited to explore the different murals and engage with the child life specialists more.

The art is planned with a child’s interests in mind. The goal was to use the murals for distraction or guided imagery and story telling. We incorporate familiar images, characters, and objects for counting to create a more calming atmosphere.  The mural project was implemented to put kids at ease in the hospital and make our setting more child-friendly.

The entire project was funded by the community. Different organizations came together to raise money for West Campus and the donations were used to brighten these rooms and create this kid-friendly atmosphere.

The murals create a less threatening environment for our patients and the Child Life Department plans to continue enhancing West Campus one wall at a time.

You can also watch ABC 13 KTRK’s news story on our mural project, here.

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About Rachael Walker, child life specialist

I am a Certified Child Life Specialist at Texas Children's Hospital West Campus.
Posted in Child Life, Radiology, West Campus

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