Local Hospital Uses Stickers to Comfort Young Patients

Animal stickers help bring smiles to kids’ faces when they are at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital.
Photograph courtesy of C.S. Mott Children's Hospital

As the saying goes, “Laughter is the best medicine.”

Smiles do wonders, too. Especially when it comes to medical care for apprehensive children and moral support for their even more apprehensive parents.

“Parents appreciate anything that will brighten a child’s experience when they are anxious,” says Luanne Thomas Ewald, chief operating officer of the University of Michigan Health C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor.

Answering the call is a crew of whimsical animal imagery — stickers featuring darling pigs holding daffodils, little dogs (skateboarding, dressed as caped superheroes, or looking vaguely embarrassed in hospital gowns), squirrels in pink tutus, a grinning Cheshire cat, a kitty with wings, and a frog with a baseball cap.

The stickers, donated by three Michigan companies — Healthmark Industries, Avanti Press, and Fathead — are strategically placed on ceilings, walls, floors, IV bags, and PICC-line sleeves throughout Mott, including in the emergency department, surgical waiting rooms, and operating rooms, as well as in some patient rooms and clinics.

Frog images direct families to the “frog desk” (aka the pre-op check-in desk) on the fourth floor. Children can also select animal-themed stickers for their patient gowns and casts. Donated faculty and staff scrub caps also feature animal imagery, which cheers both them and the pediatric patients.

“Hospitals can seem intimidating to children, and these joyful images can offer some
comfort and happiness for patients and families,” Ewald says. “Kids enjoy seeing the different animals on the walls, ceiling, and floor. The silly dog photos seem to be a favorite.”

Families are very appreciative.

“One mom said, ‘It makes a world of difference,’ and commented that Mott is such a warm, friendly place,” Ewald says.

The bottom line? “During times of fear or uncertainty, something fun can make the difference,” she says.

This story is part of the 2023 Health Guide. Read more in our Digital Edition.