Disney to Dedicate Over $100 Million to Improve Children’s Hospitals as Part of ‘Team of Heroes’ Program

The Walt Disney Company has just announced a plan to put the talent and resources that set them apart in the theme park and entertainment industries to use in children’s hospitals around the world. CEO Bob Iger spread the word today that Disney will be committing more than $100 million of the company’s funds, products, and services to “reinvent the patient and family experience” over the course of five years. Iger stated,

“Disney’s timeless stories have touched hearts and lifted spirits for generations, and we believe they can bring comfort to children and families going through a very difficult time. Using the powerful combination of our beloved characters and legendary creativity, we’re planning to transform the patient experience in children’s hospitals around the world—creating a personalized and engaging atmosphere that will inspire young patients and ease the stress of a hospital stay.”

Disney is aiming to transform the patient experience into a “supportive atmosphere that is personal, warm and entertaining.” To achieve this goal, they’ll not only be adding the influence of Disney characters and properties, but they will also be utilizing their most famous creative assets: Disney Imagineers.

Here are the concepts for the new initiative, which is part of Disney’s community outreach/philanthropy program “Team of Heroes”:

  • “A new RFID-based system allowing patients to customize their hospital visit by choosing their favorite Disney stories and characters, which will surround them during their stay. The system will also unlock special elements to further personalize and enhance the experience, such as ‘enchanted’ artwork that comes alive.”
  • “Themed treatment and patient rooms featuring interactive murals of Disney stories, bed linens and gowns featuring each child’s favorite characters, and personalized in-room entertainment. Additionally, well stocked mobile ‘play carts’ will include Disney-themed games and activities to give families something to do together to help alleviate stress and boredom.”
  • “Disney first-run movies and television shows, available both in-room and in themed pop up movie theaters in the hospital, along with other Disney entertainment options.”
  • “Disney customer-experience training for doctors, nurses and staff. The renowned Disney Institute, a part of The Walt Disney Company that provides professional development training focused on leadership, employee engagement and high quality service, will create a customized program for healthcare professionals designed to foster a less stressful, patient and family-centric hospital experience.”

The program will begin its implementation at Houston’s Texas Children’s Hospital. The Texas Children’s Hospital is a natural choice for the initiative’s debut, as it is the largest children’s hospital in the United States. President and CEO of Texas Children’s Hospital Mark A. Wallace had this to say about the collaboration:

“We are honored to be the inaugural hospital to collaborate with Disney on this exciting patient-focused initiative. Patient care is at the center of our mission, and in addition to providing the highest-quality medical care to children, we strive to make the hospital experience as enjoyable and stress-free as possible for every patient and their family. We are looking forward to working with Disney to enhance our efforts in this area.”

Along with the children’s hospital efforts, Disney says they will be increasing their efforts with children’s wish-granting organizations. The company recognizes more than 10,000 wishes granted to children with critical illnesses in 2017 alone, with over 120,000 granted since the early 1980s.

As part of the children’s hospital collaboration efforts, Disney will be conferring with a panel of medical professionals comprised of “doctors, nurses, hospital administrators, parents and child life professionals from around the world.”

One such panel member, Dr. James B. Fahner, M.D. — F.A.A.P Division Chief, Pediatric Hematology and Oncology at Helen Devos Children’s Hospital/Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids, Michigan — said, “The magic of Disney restores some childhood innocence during a very difficult time, and also allows us as caregivers to be at our very best. I can’t think of any company that is better suited to lead this type of work than Disney.”

Source/Image: The Walt Disney Company