If you take a walk into the Lakeridge Health Port Perry hospital you may have something to smile about now. The hospital has joined a long list of facilities that now have smilezones for patients. The welcoming environments have been installed in various buildings across the country.
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Scott Bachly, co-chair of the Smilezone Foundation says it’s a place for people to not only smile — but to feel welcome.
“Hospitals, small and large alike just love it. We call it hospital beige. Every hospital sort of has the same shade of grey or beige.
And we come in and brighten it up and make it just a beautiful setting for the kids to get treated in,” he says.
Patients and visitors will notice something different as soon as they walk into the emergency departments.
Rachel Agnoluzzi, CEO of the Port Perry Hospital Foundation says after the team came through the hospital, it was a transformation.
“We changed from this typical waiting room into a space that is full of colour and images,” she says. “And essentially it’s like bringing the Oak Ridges Moraine into the area to brighten it up.”
The spaces are made possible by donors and the Smilezone Foundation. They are custom designed for each location, backed by the notion that “every child deserves to smile”, the motto of the Smilezone Foundation. Bachly, a local business owner in Oakville, co-founded the charity in 2012 with former NHL Hockey Player Adam Graves. He says they started it to help brighten kids’ days at a hospital in Oakville, but it grew from there.
“We were asked to donate money, and we said why only give to one hospital and we started a foundation and it just kind of snow-balled,” she said.
The non-profit started by Bachly, a local business owner and former NHL Hockey player Adam Graves. The idea is to help decrease anxiety and create therapeutic, interactive spaces for children and their families.
One of the highlights of the Smilezones here at Port Perry Hospital is a rejuvenated birthing centre, the labour and delivery ward. Staff wanted to help make what can sometimes be a stressful space, a more welcoming environment and help bring smiles to expecting parents faces.
Upon entering the ‘New Life Centre’, expecting parents will see a wall of newborn photos — and happy families.
And on top of that — the birthing suite itself has bright paint on the wall and a thoughtful design.
Agnoluzzi with the hospital foundation says they wanted to have a theme of four seasons to help bring colour to the centre.
“It’s birds and it’s flowers and it’s trees,” she says. “If you’re walking the hallways in labour or pacing the hallways as a new dad, expecting dad there’s something to look at. It’s bright. It’s just really gorgeous.”
This particular smilezone was made possible by local residents Gilbert Kee and Kathy Perna. They say it was important for them to give back — after the community has given them so much over the years.
“We’ve had our kids here, they grew up here. We’ve used the hospital many times in the past. And we thought it would be a wonderful addition to the Port Perry hospital.”
Smilezone grand opening at PRHC
More than 300 hospitals have seen these zones installed across the province, with many more around the country, making the hospital a better experience, one smile at a time.
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