A hospital can be an intimidating place for kids, especially when they have to go through intense procedures. But the new Teck Acute Care Centre (TACC) at BC Children’s Hospital is partnering up with the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre to transform the building’s eighth floor oncology unit into an outer-space experience for young patients.
“We jumped to this idea because this is a very awesome opportunity where we get to work with community partners and (people) in the community for the betterment of everyone,” Derek Kief an astronomer at the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre told Daily Hive.
Kief worked closely with BC Children’s Hospital to create an authentic space-themed floor.
The $676 million Teck Acute Care Centre will feature new emergency, medical, and procedure wards for kids and teens in need of intensive care.
The oncology unit will take kids on a space journey as they go through the preparation, procedure, and recovery rooms.
The preparation room will be modelled after the International Space Station with real space suits and a view looking down on Earth.
Patients will then go through an airlock door into the procedure room and venture out into space. The patient will be able to the Earth on the horizon, an astronaut waving to them from the Canadarm, and stars and constellations will surround them.
“The purpose of this room is to give (the kids) a sense of wonder (and to) take their mind off the procedure,” Kief said.
Once in the recovery area, patients will return to Earth and the room will be filled with ambient lighting to mimic the Auroras over Vancouver.
The eighth-floor spacewalk is part of the Children’s Healing Experience Project, which is working to create enhanced art installations on all floors of the Teck Acute Care Centre.
“Often our patients come several times. Specifically, those children that are coming to the oncology floor will be here for two and a half to three years potentially for their treatment coming in and out at different times,” Joanna Newman of the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation told Daily Hive. “So we want to make sure it’s a place that provides purposeful distraction, helps to foster their imagination, and also helps to lessen pain.”
A majority of the fundraising for the Children’s Healing Experience Project came from the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation’s 30th annual Crystal Ball. The ball took place on November 18 and raised over $4.4 million to go towards murals and art installations in the Teck Acute Care Centre.
Science World, the Vancouver Aquarium, the Royal BC Museum, the Vancouver Art Gallery, and the Museum of Anthropology are also part of the healing project.
“We want to make sure that we are lessening (children’s) anxiety and making it a friendly welcoming place,” said Newman.
The Teck Acute Care Centre is scheduled to open in November 2017.