Disney favorites helping young patients have less stressful hospital stays

Denise Dador Image
Saturday, November 13, 2021
Disney favorites helping kids have less stressful hospital stays
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The magic of Disney is helping make hospital stays less stressful for children.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Disney is building on its commitment to young hospital patients by providing access to its streaming content through the Child Life teams at various hospitals.

It's a tool that these specialists can use to help reduce stress and anxiety.

Some beloved childhood favorites are helping kids feel more at home in their hospital rooms.

When 3-year-old Ella Nelson sees hospital staff roll in the big screen, she knows it's decision time.

"Should we put on Monsters Inc. or Bluey?" they ask her.

Within seconds, Ella is dancing in her bed and she forgets she's a cancer patient.

"We've been here for about a year and a half. This is her 20th cycle of chemotherapy. And on Disney+, there's so much content," said Ella's mother Megan Nelson.

"We try our best to make it an experience," said Cynthia Diaz, a member of CHLA's Child Life team.

Access to Disney+ is part of Disney's $100 million commitment to reimagine the hospital patient's journey. It's a pilot program offering complimentary subscriptions to Disney+ through the child life specialists at 99 pediatric facilities across the U.S for now. But, the Starlight Children's Foundation is planning to support expansion to even more hospitals.

"A lot of our families have said that it just gives them normality. We have found that is usually a huge benefit for longer-term patients just because they have to spend long periods of time here, sometimes two weeks, three weeks or even months," said Diaz.

Diaz said the wide variety of content appeals to all ages.

"I want to say it's even fun for our parents," she said.

"We're also like a 'Star Wars' fan family, so we watch 'The Mandalorian,'" Nelson said.

The Child Life team at CHLA finds having access to Disney+ has had a lot of positive impact on young patients. They feel less stressed, isolated and anxious - whether it be for a few moments during a painful procedure or a few months during their hospital stay. They said joy and laughter are universal and bring their own healing magic.

Every few minutes, you can hear Ella giggle and laugh at her favorite shows.

It's great to see Ella so enchanted.

Disney is the parent company of this station.