Mural to enhance communication between families and hospital staff

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A new mural to help families and visitors understand the clinical environment in our Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) has been installed at the Monash Children’s Hospital. 

The mural was inspired by similar work overseas and designed alongside families to explain the most complex parts of an intensive care environment in plain language, with simple labels providing the names and function explaining the equipment used in PICU. 

The work was made possible with the Sexton Scholarship for 2020/2021, which was created in the memory of a young patient at Monash Children’s Hospital, whose parents provided critical feedback about how they received communicating during their son’s say at PICU. 

Wade Horton, a PICU Registered Nurse at Monash Children’s Hospital, said being award the Sexton Scholarship and being given the opportunity to create the mural was an incredible experience. 

“This mural has allowed me to connect with patients and their families on a completely different level. I was able to sit with them and identify what they would like from this project. The conversations I had with patients and their families highlighted key themes and ideas that I was able to use to create a tangible result, said Wade. 

To create the mural, feedback was gathered from patients, caregivers and sibling about their individual PICU experience and to identify key communications issues. 

“When I submitted my proposal for the Sexton Scholarship, I knew I wanted to go big and do something no other children’s hospital in Australia had ever done before! I’ve spent most of my nursing career in paediatrics, and my patients and their families have taught me so much about creative thinking, kindness and resilience. To thank all of my patients and their families, for all of my learnings, I wanted to create something that encompassed all of these wonderful traits.” 

Associate Professor Felix Oberender, Director of the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit, provided some insight into how the mural is being used by families and our staff at Monash Children’s Hospital 

“Parents can wonder past this mural, stop at their leisure and take in the information at their own pace. To doctors and nurses, it provides insight into how to communicate complexity to families in stressful situations, said Felix. 

Congratulations to Wade, the PICU team, and the contributing patients and their families for making this mural a possibility. The mural is on display at the entrance to 3B Cocoon – PICU. 

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