It’s not uncommon for doctors in the pediatric emergency department at Stanford University to prescribe a viewing of The Little Mermaid and a dose of iTunes for young patients plagued with pain. In fact, physicians here have been experimenting with the idea that laughter may just be the best medicine.
An extension of the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health, this whimsical wing calls itself “The Ouchless ED.” Doing its best to calm patients and their parents, this pediatric ED features iMac computers loaded with movies and music and wireless Internet, plus televisions that are hooked up to onDemand in both the waiting and treatment rooms.
“The overarching goal of our department is to treat every child with the proper and appropriate pain management techniques,” says Dr. Bernard Dannenberg, the newly appointed director of the facility. “But to also have an atmosphere that appeals to a wide range of ages by being bright and uplifting, rather than childish and cartoon-like.”
With custom kid-sized medical equipment, multimedia technology, and child life specialists who lend emotional support to the children during difficult procedures and communicate between doctors and parents, The Ouchless ED makes a trip to the hospital a little less painful.