Bedside Initiatives Aren't Just for Kids

Alexandra Wilson Pecci, September 3, 2013

Nurses at the University of Pennsylvania Health System take a page from the pediatric playbook to make the hospital experience more patient- and family-oriented for adults, too.

For my four-year-old daughter, trips to the spina bifida clinic at Boston Children's Hospital are—dare I say it?—pretty fun. The hospital's main staircase plays musical notes with every step. The lobby is crowded with kids ogling tanks filled with brightly colored tropical fish and pressing their noses against the glass of a "Bippity Bop Machine" that sends balls bouncing through a complicated maze of levers and cranks.

Volunteers give out stickers near one of the elevators, and on the playground, kids take a break and let off steam between appointments.

If only adult hospital visits could be so comforting. In fact, they should be, argues a new op-ed in the Journal of the American Medical Association. In his piece, "Treat Me Like a Child," Penn Medicine fourth-year medical student Mark Attiah argues that when it comes to creating an environment that's conducive to healing, adult hospitals should take a cue from their pediatric counterparts.

"Adult hospitals, as they begin to fully realize the importance of the environment to a vulnerable patient's well-being, can take a page from the pediatric playbook by creating surroundings that distract and reduce stress, and by making clinical practices more patient- and family-oriented rather than more convenient for the caretakers," he writes.

Alexandra Wilson Pecci

Alexandra Wilson Pecci is an editor for HealthLeaders Media.


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