Taking the ‘ouch’ out of A&E for kids at St Thomas’

Visiting an emergency department can be an intimidating experience for patients, especially children. They can often feel scared and anxious, as can their parents.

Mother and child waiting on emergency floor at St Thomas' Hospital. Source: Art in Site.
Mother and child waiting on emergency floor at St Thomas' Hospital. Source: Art in Site.

This is why Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity has contributed funding and artworks from its collection to enhance the experience of every child attending the new emergency floor at St Thomas' Hospital. This makes the space more reassuring.

Our Taking the ouch out of A&E programme uses art and technology to communicate to children that they are safe and being cared for, and to distract them during difficult or painful procedures. It is also an opportunity to help children learn about their illness, and how to stay healthy and safe.

Children coming to the department are greeted by a team of friendly characters, wall panels with colourful infographics and innovative apps that help them understand their conditions and injuries. They can also play with a colourful, kinetic and responsive projection that makes waiting times much easier.

The programme was developed by art consultancy Art in Site,and their work with the Essentia Team and the clinical team has resulted in several high-profile awards. This notably includes the Best App award at the Building Better Healthcare Awards 2017.

Our Arts Manager, Liz O’Sullivan, says:

‘The investment that Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity has made in realising this world-class paediatric A&E department is evident from the moment you walk in. The artworks are family-friendly, gentle, playful and representative of the blend of cultures we serve as patients. You really feel like you belong when you come in and it makes A&E a friendly place for parents and patients alike.
‘The arts programme has been well-received by staff, young patients and their families, and children find the emergency department a more fun and interactive space to wait to receive their treatments in.’

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