Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Trust

Evelina London, Children’s Emergency (A&E)

Using art to engage children at A&E

Art in Site were hired as art coordinators for the new Children’s Emergency department at St Thomas’, London, in 2015. Our artwork uses multiple media to engage children in their surroundings and help them feel oriented and calm.

Children’s emergency app

Building on previous work with the trust, we commissioned Kiriko Kubo to develop a “gang” of illustrated patients, staff, and families, which was generated in partnership with children and clinicians. The gang come to life in an interactive app, playable on site, which helps to demystify the Emergency process through interactive animations explaining clinical procedures, including blood tests, injections, and pulse-measurements. These stories are based on the most common causes of visits to Emergency.

Alongside, games – including X-ray visualizations of broken bones – make the learning process captivating. And notes to parents on accident prevention ensure that the whole family can learn how to avoid children’s A&E in the future…

Watch the Movie

Environmental graphics

The gang also fully integrates with the environment - popping out from doorways, across walls, creeping onto ceilings, and appearing on stickers handed out to children. They function as wayfinding aids and carriers of information, providing reassurance, stimulation, and comic relief across the patient journey.

Info slices

We also developed strategically placed bodies of text, which explain treatments and processes, at the point of need. Art in Site teamed up with copywriter and Pentagram partner Naresh Ramchandani to craft simple, clear, and jargon-free language, written in a friendly, conversational voice. Consequently, Info Slices can be read and understood even by young children, with little/no support from staff or family members required.

Bodypaint

“Bodypaint” is an ambitious digital interactive installation by Memo Akten, which we placed in the waiting area, in order to facilitate controlled, safe play for all ages. Projected onto a large wall, the piece stimulates and instills calm with its dynamic colours and shapes, which move and transform in response to body movements.

Impact

This is absolutely outstanding. In terms of an app, this is by far the best we have seen. It shows clearly what children can expect and has had a measurable impact on services and the patient experience. It’s a great idea.

– Jon Wilks, Head Judge, Product Class, BBH Awards 2017; Managing Director, UKHealthGateway

Impact

I love working in the new Paediatric Emergency Department, the Evelina gang welcome the children into the cubicles peering throughout the sliding doors. The new waiting room is a stark contrast to the old one, it’s now bright and spacious, which helps to diffuse tension at busy times. The children love the colour wall and seeing the look on their faces when they realise how it works is brilliant. I’ve even see some of the parents playing too! I feel proud to work in an emergency department that was so clearly designed with children in mind.

– Dr Shalini Panchal, Consultant, Children’s Emergency

Impact

Before the rebuild there used to be an old TV which no one watched. Since the introduction of Bodypaint, children move around and dance and create this beautiful sequence of colours on the walls. The whole waiting room is calmer.

– Dr John Criddle, Senior Paediatric consultant

Impact

The new environment in the Children’s Emergency Department has had an incredibly positive effect on the way we work with children. The charming illustrations are a great ice breaker with the younger, more shy children, and a fantastic way of explaining what will happen to them next.

– Dr Danielle Hall, Consultant, Children’s Emergency

Impact

Parents are always so positive about the environment, about how bright, colourful and playful it is. It’s beautiful, calming and a wonderful environment to work in.

– Dr Danielle Hall, Consultant, Children’s Emergency

Date 2013 - 2017
Sector Healthcare
Service Hospital, Emergency Department (A&E)
Commissioned Guy's & St Thomas' NHS Trust
Artist Art in Site, Kiriko Kubo
User Group Children & Families
Awards European Healthcare Design 2017; Highly Commended, Interior Design & Arts
Building Better Healthcare Awards 2017; Winner, Patient’s Choice Award
Building Better Healthcare Awards 2017; Winner, Best Healthcare App