OU Medicine News

News Release

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

Date: 7-14-2017
For more information:
Scott Coppenbarger
OU Medical Center/The Children’s Hospital at OU Medical Center
Office: (405) 271-7900 X4
Cell (405) 593-5289
scott.coppenbarger@hcahealthcare.com

GARTH BROOKS VISITS PATIENTS, FAMILIES AT UPDATED CHILDREN’S PLAY AREA, THE ZONE

OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma’s own Garth Brooks “slipped on down” to The Children’s Hospital at OU Medical Center Friday, visiting with patients, family and media while touring a recently updated play and learning area called The Zone before receiving a surprise gift from patients.

In addition to playing with patients, Brooks was also able to see improvements to The Zone, including a new art room, multisensory area, Microsoft gaming center, television studio and more.

“If you came in here blindfolded and you looked around, you'd never know you were in a hospital," Brooks said. "This is a place of healing ... I can't imagine fighting for your life and still dreaming big at the same time. That's what these kids are doing and The Zone is helping them get there."

Toward the end of his visit, Brooks watched a music video of Children's patients singing along to Brooks' hit, "Friends in Low Places,' re-tooled as "Friends in Zone Places" with lyrics about being in The Zone. 

Brooks is a board member and co-founder of Garth Brooks Teammates for Kids Foundation, which has helped build and improve Child Life Zones at 11 hospitals across the United States, including at The Children’s Hospital.  

“We are thankful for the generosity of Mr. Brooks and the Garth Brooks Teammates for Kids Foundation for helping us create an ‘oasis’ in the hospital for kids to be kids,” said Jon Hayes, CEO of The Children’s Hospital. “We believe in the healing of the whole child, and having areas like The Zone helps accomplish that.”

The 6,000-square-foot play and learning area is on the hospital’s sixth floor and is a place where patients and families can get away from their worries and get the social, emotional and developmental support they need. Staffed by Certified Child Life Specialists, The Zone at Children’s is the largest in the country.

The Zone receives more than 17,500 visits from patients and family members and hosts more than 350 special events each year. The In the Zone TV studio has 20 sessions per week where volunteers and staff produce television shows, said Sara Jacobson, director of Child Life and Volunteers at Children’s.

 “Our new studio has been incredible. Kids call in to play bingo on Mondays and we’ve had musicians from Oklahoma City and across the U.S. co-host our ‘Wiggle Out Loud’ live music show. The new studio expands the reach of The Zone to kids who cannot leave their rooms to play,” Jacobson said. “Our Splatter Art Room and “GREEN” Room will also reach kids with special interests and specific play needs. We are so grateful to have this opportunity to give The Zone a facelift but also find ways to bring play to kids in new ways and make programs here even more amazing.”

Other updates include adding new toys and furniture to The Zone. 

Through the Child Life Zone Network, Garth Brooks Teammates for Kids provides state-of-the-art, therapeutic areas inside hospitals where children and families can play, laugh, relax, learn and hang out. Teammates for Kids also promotes the profession of Child Life and supports continuing education and best practices.

The Zone is operated by the Child Life and Volunteers Department and programs, toys, games, furniture and contract staffing are funded through the nonprofit The Children’s Hospital VOLUNTEERS.

The Children’s Hospital VOLUNTEERS charity hosts fundraisers, writes grants and forges relationships with community partners and businesses to raise money for The Zone and related programs like music therapy, pet therapy, special events and family support programs for kids at the hospital.

Recent updates to The Zone include:

  • In The Zone TV studio, which opened in late 2015 and broadcasts child-friendly programming to televisions in the hospital.
  • The Splatter Art Room, developed with support from Norman High School’s Tigerpalooza, and is The Zone’s first space to support visual arts in the creative arts program.
  • “GREEN” Room, which stands for “Grow, Relax, Explore, Energize, Nurture,” and is a multisensory space for many uses, including for children with sensory aversions.
  • A space to practice mindfulness or relaxation.
  • Microsoft Wall with the latest Xbox One games.
  • Music therapy program, animal therapy program and more.

For photos of Brooks’ time at Children’s and the "Friends in Zone Places" video, go to: http://bit.ly/2sYUKQH

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THE CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL AT OU MEDICAL
CENTER

The Children’s Hospital at OU Medical Center has 314 inpatient beds and is the only freestanding pediatric hospital and clinic in Oklahoma solely dedicated to the treatment of children. Our pediatric staff blends years of specialized pediatric training with education, research and technology to treat conditions ranging from cardiothoracic and oncology-related illnesses to neonatal specialty care and pediatric solid-organ transplants. Our 93-bed neonatal intensive care unit provides the highest level of neonatal care in Oklahoma. Children’s Heart Center brings cutting-edge research, treatment and surgery to patients with congenital and acquired heart conditions. We have the state’s largest staff of Child Life specialists to help children and families cope with hospitalization. Along with being the only 24/7 pediatric emergency room in Oklahoma City, MetroFamily Magazine readers have twice voted our ER as the favorite in the metro. To learn more, visit www.oumedicine.com/childrens and find us on Facebook.