A hospital can be an overwhelming place – especially when you’re a child. Often times it leads to fear or stress, which slows down healing. Experts say play is what helps. A leading children’s hospital in California is listening and has created a hi-tech, interactive space where a kid can just be a kid.
Avalynn Wallace has found a haven in the hospital away from the constant swirl of doctors, chemo, and cancer.
“It’s fun and it actually gets me out of the room,” Avalynn detailed.
“It” is a new interactive center. It has everything from a story corner with a touch-free digital wall and broadcast studio.
Brianna Chambers of Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford, explained, “It’s a place where a kid can just be a kid. It’s a medical free zone. We get to play games and sing and dance and interact in ways that are really fun.”
Nicole Wallace, Avalynn’s mom, told Ivanhoe, “We’re not just confined to a 10X10 room. Whether it’s we’re here for a day or we’re here for months on end.”
Patients like Avalynn who have compromised immune systems get to play without fear in the center’s touch-free setting.
“It can really cater to the needs of all kinds of patients,” detailed Chambers.
Avalynn’s dad, Louis Wallace, Jr., said, “She’s hooked up to her IVs and you know when they’re disconnected it’s only for a few hours a day. It’s nice they let us out. She’ll get a break.”
Patients who have to stay in their rooms, can still be connected to the action through the broadcast studio donated by former 49er football player, Steve Young and his wife Barb.
“It really just helps them feel completely involved,” Chambers told Ivanhoe.
But for Avalynn and her family, it’s the music that has had the biggest difference. It’s known music can reduce stress and pain in patients. But for the Wallace family, it also is a chance to bond over a song that’s become their personal anthem: “Fight Song.”
Steve Young and his wife have introduced their music therapy studios to several hospitals across the country, including: Salt Lake City, Sacramento, and Mesa. However, the only broadcast facility they’ve donated so far is at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford.
Contributors to this news report include: Wendy Chioji, Field Producer; Roque Correa, Editor; Rusty Reed, Videographer.