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The caterpillar tasked with removing young patients’ fears

Jamie Leanord, 3, from Karana Downs plays with a caterpillar in front of the new wall wrapping at the Ipswich Hospitals Children’s Sunshine Ward.

Just like a caterpillar growing into a beautiful butterfly, the Ipswich Hospital Children’s Sunshine Ward has undergone a metamorphosis.

The 23-bed paediatric unit has been transformed using “wall wrapping” to turn the clinical area into an exciting nature themed retreat for West Moreton’s youngest patients.

Children’s Sunshine Ward Nurse Unit Manager Kirsty Franklin said the wall wrapping was already providing a positive distraction from a clinical environment.

“I have seen the faces of boys and girls light up when they see the hidden caterpillars and other animals when arriving at the Children’s Sunshine Ward,” Ms Franklin said.

“Just recently while we were trying to ease the fears of a young patient and their family during a diagnostic test, our nurses played a game of eye-spy using the wall wrapping and before the game was over we had already successfully completed the test.

“It was so rewarding the see the look on the faces of the patient and their parents when we said the test was finished and not a single tear had been shed.”

Ms Franklin said that the wall wrapping in the Children’s Sunshine Ward had a unique West Moreton Health twist.

“The wall wrapping providers, Imaging Solutions, were good enough to include the mascot of the Children’s Sunshine Ward – a colourful, playful caterpillar – in the design,” Ms Franklin said.

“The caterpillar mascot represents the entire West Moreton paediatric service.

“Similar to the transition of a caterpillar to a butterfly, the children transform through the service from the front line of the emergency department, to the inpatient unit and back home in the community.

“The symbol of the caterpillar ties the services together and allows the child to feel their care is personalised and that they and their family are at the centre of the care provided.”

The wall wrapping cost $30,090 and covers the walls of the whole ward and the ceiling of the procedure room.

Ipswich Hospital Foundation Chief Executive Officer Phillip Bell said seeing the faces of children light up when they see the artwork drives home why the Ipswich Hospital Foundation exists.

“There is nothing more important to the Ipswich Hospital Foundation than supporting the delivery of care to the local community,” Mr Bell said.

“Working with the Children’s Ward team to achieve a shared vision, ensuring the comfort of our region’s smallest patients, has been so satisfying, as has having the importance of this project acknowledged by the Community Benefit Gambling Fund and Member for Ipswich Jennifer Howard.”

West Moreton Health Board Chair Michael Willis said the Children’s Sunshine Ward cares for an average of 92 children each week.

“If we can help ease those children’s worries with the colourful nature wall wrapping, and give them a reason to smile when they are feeling their worst, then we are doing our jobs correctly.”

Ipswich First

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