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Sky full of artworks

02 January 2020

Health Care

A journey to an operating theatre can be daunting for an adult, let alone a child. Making this journey a much more pleasant experience for children was the inspiration behind new artworks decorating the ceiling on the first floor at Southend Hospital.

16 pictures form the Great Theatre Coin Trail, which starts from the sky-lite ceiling outside Neptune children's ward and continues all the way along the corridor to the entrance of the operating theatre.

Children who are undergoing surgery can now follow the theatre coin trail, looking at brightly coloured cartoon images of the seaside. The images include coral reefs, seahorse, dolphin, mermaid, seagull, lighthouse, sand castles, star fish and a treasure chest.

Hidden within each image are a gold coin and a crab, which the children are encouraged to spot as they are wheeled along the corridor while lying on a bed.   

The journey from Neptune children's ward to the operating theatre can take up to five minutes, which is plenty of time for the children to look at cheerful images and not worry about their operation.

Alexandra Hickman, Deputy Sister in Post Op Recovery, came up with the idea to brighten up the corridor with sky-lite tile artworks. She said: "We have had such positive feedback since we installed the artworks and it's really lovely to see the children stopping in the corridor to look at the tiles and some of the adults like them too."

At the end of their operation, the children are given a bravery certificate and some stickers which are smaller images of the sky-lite artworks.

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Notes to editors

Photo caption:Alexandra Hickman, Deputy Sister Post Op Recovery and Steve Judd, Theatre Support Worker