A whale of a wel­come to the new Lurie Chil­dren’s Hospi­tal,

Modern Healthcare - - NEWS -

Out­liers ap­pre­ci­ates a good whale story, hope­fully told over a cock­tail, and the soon-to-be opened Ann & Robert H. Lurie Chil­dren’s Hospi­tal of Chicago of­fers one.

The 23-floor fa­cil­ity will re­place ven­er­a­ble Chil­dren’s Me­mo­rial Hospi­tal’s old lo­ca­tion in Lin­coln Park and is set to open in June. Part of the plan­ning in­cluded dec­o­rat­ing the chil­dren’s rooms. Un­like Cap­tain Ahab, Chil­dren’s Me­mo­rial didn’t need a har­poon to hunt down help.

About four years ago, hospi­tal staff asked lo­cal civic in­sti­tu­tions if they would do­nate art and staff time to help dec­o­rate the $915 mil­lion build­ing. Re­sponse was pos­i­tive, and the hospi­tal found 23 or­ga­ni­za­tions and as­signed them each a floor to dec­o­rate. One of those groups was the Shedd Aquar­ium, which do­nated a 30-foot Fiber­glas sculp­ture of a mother whale and her calf. The whale be­came avail­able af­ter the aquar­ium did some re­mod­el­ing and it no longer fit in their plans.

The mother and child now hang high above the es­ca­la­tors at the hospi­tal’s main en­trance. Be­fore reach­ing the hospi­tal, Shedd staff re­painted the whale, mak­ing it look more re­al­is­tic, said Sally Smith, pro­duc­tion man­ager, de­signer and animator at the Shedd.

“The Shedd re­ally has an ap­pre­ci­a­tion for the work that the hospi­tal does and be­ing a good com­mu­nity part­ner. Not only is it a pos­i­tive see­ing our work in the hospi­tal, it helps ad­vance our mis­sion con­nect­ing with the liv­ing world and in­spir­ing them to make a dif­fer­ence,” she said.

The Adler Plan­e­tar­ium also part­nered with the hospi­tal, with a sky­line of Chicago in the neona­tal in­ten­sive-care unit. Vis­i­tors can push a but­ton cor­re­spond­ing to a child’s birth­day and see a con­stel­la­tion light up, said Bruce Komiske, chief of new hospi­tal de­sign and con­struc­tion for Chil­dren’s Me­mo­rial. Komiske said the hospi­tal’s art bud­get was “less than 1%” of the over­all con­struc­tion bud­get, which would be about $9.2 mil­lion. That made the do­na­tions from the com­mu­nity vi­tal, and Komiske said the hospi­tal is ap­pre­cia­tive of the com­mu­nity’s ef­forts: “We could not ex­pect them to spend their own money.”

Part of the Shedd’s de­sign was to dec­o­rate doors with a unique an­i­mal. It’s eas­ier to iden­tify a room by re­mem­ber­ing an an­i­mal ver­sus a num­ber, Smith said.

Hospi­tal staff pre­ferred pho­tos of smaller an­i­mals in the rooms as op­posed to larger types, which could be con­sid­ered threat­en­ing or in­tim­i­dat­ing. Schools of fish or mon­keys could bet­ter pro­mote a more in­ti­mate cli­mate. When color-cor­rect­ing, staff also scrubbed any red off the images us­ing com­put­ers, to en­sure a more calm­ing en­vi­ron­ment. An­i­mals that were red were changed to a friend­lier hue, orange.

So, un­for­tu­nately, that means pa­tients won’t be see­ing any vis­ages of an Out­liers fa­vorite from our child­hood, Clif­ford the Big Red Dog.

A sculp­ture of a whale and her calf adorns the en­trance of the new Lurie Chil­dren’s Hospi­tal in Chicago.

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