PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The coronavirus pandemic has closed down play areas inside Hasbro Children’s Hospital, but there is a new option for children and their families to have fun and relax outside.
The hospital has opened a newly renovated garden and outdoor space that is closed to the public and only open for Hasbro patients.
“It’s a really nice opportunity to work it into their day and it makes a huge difference to them,” Child Life Specialist Kimberly Morse said.
Hasbro has always had a garden space for children and their families to get out of the sterile wall of their room, but for the past 10 years, it’s been a goal of Vice President of Pediatric Services Tracey Wallace’s to renovate it.
Wallace can see the 29,000 square-foot space from her office.
“We really wanted to try to have the hospital and our donor partners to commit to really reimagining the space and the garden to support our families,” she said.
As part of their capital campaign, they were able to see the space revamped to include a colorful garden, half basketball court, amphitheater, and handicap accessible equipment.
The plans were made before the pandemic, but it’s especially important now when outside is a safer place to be.
Child Life Specialists say in the past few weeks since the space opened, it’s served as a reward for patients.
“If they’re feeling good and the weather’s good, we can say, ‘Oh, you know what? Let’s complete your treatment, let’s take your medicine, and in the afternoon we’ll go out to the garden. You can check it out,'” Child Life Specialist Karen Swartz said.
The only access to the garden is through the hospital.