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Stanford University School of Medicine

Bringing art and nature into the expanding Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford

In early December, when Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford officially expands into its new 521,000-square foot building, patients and their families will immediately start benefiting from a wide array of new technologies that will facilitate cutting-edge medical care.

But taking care of sick kids requires more than just meeting their medical needs. The hospital's planners knew that kids and families would want to heal in an environment that felt friendly, engaging, restful and easy to navigate. To help meet those goals, they incorporated decorative themes from several California ecosystems, as well as a huge variety of artwork. And, as a recent hospital press release explains, they called on the expertise of parents whose children have stayed in the hospital before:

'You’re always trying to engage your child in something when you’re in the hospital,' said Diane Flynn, a member of the Family Advisory Council who provided feedback on some of the building’s design elements. 'When my son had to fast before his surgeries, we would walk the halls to try to keep his mind off his hunger. We’d stop at the art on the walls and play ‘can you find’ games. Bringing in art and other elements of interactive play like this to the new hospital was crucial.'

The diverse collection features sculpture and painting, as well as interactive experiences to draw children in. It ranges from a 30-foot kinetic sculpture of the hospital’s 'leaping Lucy' logo in the entry garden to 2-inch glass figures of hummingbirds, fish and other species outside the hospital’s Sanctuary. Framed art hangs in each patient room, and on the first floor, a richly colored panoramic California ecosystem mural with interactive features teaches children about the state’s diverse wildlife.

The hospital also has lots of kid-friendly outdoor artwork, including a puma den, a wolf sculpture, a pair of bear cubs and a multi-level fort designed to look like the trunk of a redwood tree. It's all part of making the environment welcoming for young patients and their families.

Previously: New Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford to open in DecemberPeeking inside the expanding Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford and Weathering Heights: Crane operator makes the climb for hospital expansion
Photo courtesy of Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford

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