Patient playroom provides place for fun

girls playing with a play kitchen

UI Health patient Destinee Thomas (left) and her sister, Jazyah, check out the newly renovated playroom at the hospital. Photo: Hoss Fatemi

A newly renovated space in the University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System gives children a place to have fun while they are being treated as patients at the hospital.

The remodeled playroom in the pediatrics department features brightly colored walls, new lighting, state-of-the-art gaming system and plenty of fun toys.

UI Health hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday for the playroom, which was renovated with support from Starlight Children’s Foundation and a generous donation provided by Northwestern University Dance Marathon.

Lindsay Cousins, child life specialist at the hospital, helped coordinate design plans.

“I know the kids the best — I play with them on a daily basis — so I knew what their wants and needs were,” she said. “I tried to plan everything in that room thinking of the kids.”

Ben Van Voorhees, associate professor of pediatrics, said the playroom is a nice addition to a treatment room renovated in the fall by the Starlight Children’s Foundation.

“[A playroom] renovated to this degree is unusual, but more hospitals seem to be going this way,” he said.

boy playing with toys

Deandre Hodges picks out a toy. The updated playroom helps patients come out of their rooms and not think about their pain, says child life specialist Lindsay Cousins. Photo: Hoss Fatemi

Starlight and Dance Marathon representatives, patients and their families, physicians, nurses and hospital staff members attended the unveiling of the playroom.

The space has a built-in dollhouse, Lego wall, area specially designed for infants, and a dishwasher to sanitize toys, among other amenities. The upgraded space allows easier access for patients with physical disabilities so they can enjoy the room with their families and other patients.

“I think it’s going to help [patients’] overall well-being,” Cousins said. “I think it’s going to help make them feel better, make them come out of their rooms, and that’s a huge part of healing and it’s a part of being normal, not thinking about their pain.”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email