Saturday, November 7, 2009

Child Life Center at Lucille Packard Children's Hospital

The Lucille Packard Children's Hospital serves numerous children with life-threatening illnesses. Many are housed in the Ronald McDonald House with their families. The Child Life Center insures that as much normalcy as possible is provided so that the young patient can experience treatment in the best possible way. Child Life Specialist Debra Montack told me that even siblings attend regular school sessions with their brother or sister. But, during the flu season, especially the current H1N1 virus, the patients are further isolated.

Such a condition prompted the perfect answer from Screen 360. Katy Kavanaugh and Screen 360 are developing a program of international films with Debra Montack to occupy eight unused hours of closed-circuit television in the patients' rooms.

  • The technology used will be MP2 movie files uploaded and screened via closed circuit television with in-room response technology available to the patient for engaging in Q&A after viewing;
  • It is projected that the program will be sustained as a non-profit project fiscally sponsored by the hospital, and I aspire that it garners eventual sponsorship through Netflix.
  • The degree of the program's effect is that patients will feel less isolated when they see more of the greater world and its cultures through these cinematic stories, it will support the school component at LPCH, they will be inspired to wonder about the world....and perhaps support their own healing.

International cinema for young audiences:

Offers language immersion to support language learning or stimulate desire to learn a second language;

Offers a window into culture, history, geography, politics all at a child's eye view;

Offers alternative storytelling styles and aesthetics;

Offers common stories to share with international peers and serves the development of empathy;

Offer exit, to imagine and delight.

The patients at Lucille Packard Children's Hospital are are already isolated from their peers and due to H1N1, the isolation is compounded, making those delightful moments of exit--away from their illnesses --valuable healing moments. With Screen 360's closed-circuit film festival, they will have the opportunity to select films in their rooms with the option to plan intra-room screenings simultaneously and engage in question and answer sessions following the screening with each other, with care providers and with family members in external lounges. When the program is presented live in the spring, after flu season, patients will also be able to participate live as a studio audience and engage in questions and answers with the presenter, filmmakers and special guests to further enrich their learning.

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